Law on religiously aggravated crimes to be reviewed

THE Scottish Government is to review the law covering religiously aggravated crimes in the wake of the murder of Asad Shah.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe. Picture: Greg Macvean/JP
Lord Advocate James Wolffe. Picture: Greg Macvean/JP

The Crown Office decided the circumstances of the killing in March did not meet the “statutory test for an offence to be aggravated by religious prejudice” but Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC has now written to the justice secretary as he believes the case highlighted a “potential gap” in legislation.

If charged with an offence aggravated by religious prejudice, Tanveer Ahmed could have faced a longer minimum sentence.

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The Lord Advocate said: “Following careful consideration of the evidence, Crown Counsel, the most senior lawyers in Crown Office concluded that the statutory test for an offence to be aggravated by religious prejudice was not met in the circumstances of this case.

“The absence of the statutory aggravation in this charge does not in any way diminish the gravity or seriousness of the crime.

“The case has highlighted a potential gap in the statutory provision on religious aggravation and I have accordingly written to the cabinet secretary for justice to ask him to consider reviewing the legislation.”

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