Lord Advocate to issue guide to prosecutors on online Clutha hate crime

Guidance will be issued to prosecutors this week on how they should deal with hate crimes linked to the Clutha helicopter tragedy.

Allegations of crimes arising from hateful comments made or posted online are currently being investigated by Police Scotland.

Procurators Fiscal will be told that where it can be demonstrated that such an offence was motivated by a reaction to the events at the Clutha bar there will be a presumption in favour of criminal proceedings and all such cases must be reported for Crown Counsel’s instructions.

The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, says: ‘It is important that COPFS demonstrates a robust prosecution policy towards such offences committed as a reaction to the incident in recognition of the fact that people died and the impact such crimes will have on their families and friends. This is also in consideration of the other people who were in the Clutha bar and those who attended the scene in the aftermath.’

Where, from the surrounding facts and circumstances of an offence, it can be inferred that the offence was motivated by a hateful reaction to the events at the Clutha Bar, there is a strong presumption in favour of criminal proceedings and all such cases must be reported for Crown Counsel’s Instructions.

The Lord Advocate says: ‘I have made it clear that prosecutors must take a hard-line against this kind of hate crime. As the relatives of the Clutha victims are preparing to hold funerals offences which in particular involve hateful public comments surrounding the helicopter tragedy on 29th November.’

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