Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament publishes its Stage 1 report on the Repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication (Scotland) 2012 Act
Following the largest public consultation that the Scottish Parliament has ever had on any issue, the Justice Committee began hearing oral evidence on 3rd October 2017. There followed several sessions which involved legal bodies, fans groups, the football authorities, academics, the police and civil rights and equalities bodies and which concluded on 12 December 2017.
The overwhelming message which was given to the Justice Committee was that the Act was unnecessary, illiberal, damaging to police-fan relations and potentially in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In light of this, the Justice Committee has today recommended the Repeal Bill to the Parliament and the vote on the Stage 1 report will take place on 25th of September.
We call on all MSPs to recognise that this law is bad law, it is a failure and it needs to be repealed as a matter of urgency so that the injustice meted out to young football fans can stop and the damage which it has caused can begin to be repaired. This also leaves the way clear for a sensible and mature discussion to take place which addresses those social issues which the Act was alleged to be about but which have been advanced not one iota since 2011.
Having campaigned against this Act for close to seven years, we now look forward to the next stage in the process (amendments) and the eventual Stage 3 vote which will see this ‘stain on the reputation of the Scottish legal system’ finally removed.