Humza Yousaf warned of ‘dangerous’ message on allegations

Humza Yousaf MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.
Humza Yousaf MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.
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The Scottish Police Federation General Secretary has warned Humza Yousaf of sending a “dangerous” message on allegations as he waded into the row around US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Mr Yousaf brought up US President Donald Trump mocking Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony in which she alleged Mr Kavanaugh assaulted her at a high school party in 1982, claims the newly-appointed justice denies.

Speaking at a fringe event at the SNP conference, the Scottish Justice Secretary said: “She is saying it is sexual assault.

“You can allege whether it was Brett Kavanaugh or somebody else but she is telling you she has been sexually assaulted.

“You can argue around the veracity and the truth about who did it, who didn’t do it. My point is you can see from her testimony how harrowing it was.”

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Scottish Police Federation General Secretary Calum Steele raised concerns about automatically believing those who make allegations.

He said: “The reality is that is an alleged assault. It’s not, she was assaulted and it might have been Brett Kavanaugh.

“That kind of basic narrative that starts at a political level of we will believe you regardless is problematic.

“I have a deep concern around the general principle of the allegation being the basis on which the assumption should be made that a crime has been committed.

“That’s a dangerous position to adopt for anyone. Just because someone says something happened it doesn’t mean that it did.”

Mr Steele also questioned the Scottish need to create a specific offence of misogyny as a hate crime aggravator, as is being consulted on by the Scottish Government, saying it could lead to people being called “speccy, fat or ginger” being considered hate crime aggravators.

Mr Yousaf said people wearing glasses would not be likely to believe there is a gap in the law regarding discrimination over their appearance.

He said the question being asked in the consultation is if there is a gap in the law regarding misogyny.

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