Patrick Harvie MSP‘s Bill was unanimously passed by the Scottish Parliament today. So perfectly drafted was the Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Bill that it was not amended at all during its passage through Parliament.
Surely, this type of legislation requires at least one MSP to yell “Thought Crime!” – maybe they did and were outvoted? At any rate, it will be law soon and any offences motivated (in part or in whole) by the victim’s sexual orientation or disability will be punished with extra severity. And who could argue with that?
I suppose one of the problems with this kind of provision is that people start to feel left out. There are now aggravations in relation to race, sexual orientation, disability and religion. Now, what about gender? Or age? Or social class? Shouldn’t we be stamping out these hate crimes too? And if the list is too long then all offences end up being aggravated and, therefore, none of them are. To quote W.S. Gilbert from The Gondoliers “When everybody’s somebody – then no-one’s anybody.”
Posted on Absolvitor: Scots Law Online.