Scotland’s Justice Secretary says he intends to clamp down on hate speech inside the home under his sinister new hate crime Bill.
Free speech campaigners have warned that the Bill leaves out a crucial defence included in other UK hate crime legislation, which protects conversations in the home from police intervention.
However, Humza Yousaf is refusing to provide a “dwelling defence”, insisting that ‘hateful speech’ in the home deserves to be criminalised.
The Minister made the comments earlier this week in response to questioning from the Justice Committee, which is tasked with scrutinising the legislation.
Lord Bracadale, the judge whose recommendations led to the Bill, later advised MSPs that they should think carefully about allowing a public order offence to extend into the private sphere.
The Committee’s Convenor asked if the judge would say from his “experience of the operation of criminal law”, that Parliament should “be alert to some danger in that”.
Bracadale responded: “I think that your concern is well-founded”.
Free speech threatened
Last month, the Scottish Government agreed to raise the threshold of the ‘stirring up’ offences from behaviour ‘likely to stir up hatred’ to behaviour ‘intended to stir up hatred’.
The Christian Institute welcomed the Justice Secretary’s willingness to compromise on one of the most controversial parts of the Bill, but warned that many more changes are still required.