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Treat age and gender hate crime like race, says review

But retired judge says there is no need to replace the Football Act

Age and gender should become protected characteristics, according to a reviewer.

Lord Bracadale’s review of Scottish legislation says the characteristics should be added to race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity as aggravations for other offences.

The retired Court of Session judge said: “In a civilised society people should be able to live together, respecting one another and treating each other fairly, regardless of differences. Hate crime legislation will not achieve that alone.

"But a clear, well defined and implemented scheme does have a fundamental contribution to make."

The protected characteristics mean tougher punishments for crimes committed while an offender demonstrates hostility towards a victim based on such characteristics, or if the offence is motivated by hostility based on the protected characteristic.

Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing said: “We have been consistently clear that legislation alone will not achieve the inclusive and equal society we aspire to, however, laws passed by parliament form a clear basis for what is and is not acceptable.”

Elsewhere in the report he says it is not necessary to introduce a new law to replace the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act targeting sectarian abuse, which was recently repealed.

He said such behaviour can already be dealt with by other laws.

Labour MSP James Kelly said: “The Football Act was thoroughly discredited by legal experts and equalities groups and it has now been discredited by the SNP government’s own report.”