Hate Crime Bill ‘dwelling defence’ voted down

The SNP have rejected a bid to protect people from hate crime prosecution over things said in the privacy of their own home.

 

Members of the Scottish Parliament justice committee voted 7-2 against a Scottish Conservative attempt to ensure the SNP’s Hate Crime Bill includes a “dwelling defence”.

 

SNP, Labour, Lib Dems and Green MSPs united to defeat the Scottish Conservative amendment.

 

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said: “Without a dwelling defence, this Bill could lead to the outrageous scenario of parents censoring themselves in their own homes because they're anxious their children might repeat something they’ve said out of context.

 

“The idea that we should empower the police to question children over what a parent said at the dinner table is surely anathema to our democratic values.

 

“We will never agree with everyone. But people have a fundamental right to their opinions and they surely must have a right to express them in their own home.

 

“It cannot be the job of the police to investigate private, ideological disputes and to use the criminal law to set the parameters of acceptable opinion.

 

“We are extremely disappointed at the decision taken by the committee today and would strongly encourage other parties to think long and hard about this Orwellian proposition.”

 

NOTES:

 

The Scottish Conservative amendment to include a ‘dwelling defence’ in the Hate Crime Bill was today voted down 7 to 2 at Stage 2 of the justice committee debate. Only Liam Kerr MSP and Adam Tomkins MSP voted in favour.

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