The Act has gone, but they will be back, so don't be complacent.

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Joe O'Rourke
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The Act has gone, but they will be back, so don't be complacent.

Postby Joe O'Rourke » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:17 am

I remember attending the Scottish Parliament in late 2011 as part of a delegation from FAC to oppose the implementing of the Offensive Behaviour at Football & Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. So I had great pleasure in attending again yesterday with a bigger delegation (some of the same people from the first one) from FAC to witness the historical vote to repeal the Act.

The Act as we know was an unworkable, illiberal piece of legislation, which criminalised mostly young people who had never had any previous contact with the Police. The SNP Government at the time declared the Act was needed to combat sectarianism at football matches. There was already laws in place that covered that, namely, The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003.

But you’ve heard all the arguments before. What was really infuriating yesterday in the Toy Parliament was the complete arrogance of the SNP and their MSP’s who were present, and in particular Annabelle Ewing who was opposing the repeal on behalf of the SNP group. Ewing tried to speak down to the opposition MSP’s, who mostly disappeared during the debate and reappeared in time to vote, so much for having a debate, it was toe the party line.

Let me say this, it will take about six weeks for the repeal to come into force. It will still be in force at the semi-final, although I wouldn’t expect the Police to use it, I would they expect they will go back to the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act, and use the Breach of the Peace section to prosecute supporters.

I don’t think anything different will happen for the foreseeable future. The SNP don’t have a majority so won’t be able to get another Bill through Parliament. But I fully expect they will try again, only this time with the agreement of the other parties. The major problem now is that supporters are still going through the courts from old cases, in some cases two years old. What should happen is, that all ongoing cases should be dropped, and all previous convictions should be overturned.

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