Fife man who uttered ‘religious offending phrases’ is banned from football matches

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.
Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.
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A Kirkcaldy man who admitted behaving in a threatening manner by repeatedly uttering religious offending phrases and comments has been banned from attending football matches for 12 months.

Alexander Smith, whose address was given as Link Living, Bridge Street, Kirkcaldy was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Smith appeared before Sheriff Grant McCulloch at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

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Smith (27) admitted that on September 1 this year at Kirk Wynd in Kirkcaldy he behaved in a threatening or abusive manner likely to cause fear or alarm in that he did repeatedly utter religious offending phrases and comments and failed to desist.

It was also proved in terms of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 that the aforesaid offence was aggravated by religious prejudice and proved in terms of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 that the offence was racially aggravated.

Smith’s defence agent told the court his client had acted under the influence of alcohol and that as the offence did not take place at a football ground, it lessened the impact.

However Sheriff Grant McCulloch told Smith he regarded the offence as ‘utterly abhorrent’.

He said: “This behaviour needs to be nipped in the bud. What you thought might have been a bit of fun, is offensive, rude and inflammatory which could cause violence. You were asked to stop and you did not which makes it worse.

“It has been shown to be aggravated by prejudice. Hopefully you will learn from it and from the unpaid work order I am going to impose.

“You will be required to do 150 hours of unpaid work in the community.”

Sheriff McCulloch also ordered that he attend and engage in alcohol counselling and banned him from attending football matches in Scotland for 12 months.