The Scottish Government announced in January that it would support the proposed Sentencing of Offences Aggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Bill proposed by the Green MSP Patrick Harvie.  If passed this would be the first member’s bill from the Green Party to be enacted by the Scottish Parliament.

The bill proposes to extend statutory aggravations to cover crimes motivated by malice or ill will towards victims based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability.  Section 96 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 made provision in Scotland for offences motivated by racial prejudice and section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 made provision for offences motivated by religious prejudice.  Both provisions require courts to take the aggravation into account when sentencing.