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It is lesser in that it can't be imprisonable, and the criteria for conviction are lower, but can there be any religiously aggravated element of it?

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  • I'm not sure I understand the question. Assuming you are talking about this, the only requirement is that the words / behavior / writing be threatening or abusive. It doesn't seem to be relevant whether the threatening words were racially or religiously aggravated; it's an offense whether they were or not. Is there some reason to think otherwise? Jul 4, 2022 at 23:37
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    @NateEldredge in E&W certain offences can be "aggravated" - i.e. some other act etc increases their severity and punishment. In this case, use of R&R language etc changes the sentence for a basic s.5 offence from just a fine to up to two years' imprisonment and/or fine.
    – user35069
    Sep 1, 2022 at 8:52
  • @Rick But it is important to note that it is still an absolute requirement to harbour, and apparently to also demonstrate, hostility toward members of a given racial or religious group, which is to say that as apparently in accordance with section 29J of part 3 POA 1986 as inserted by RRHA2006, it is not criminal to express or promote opposition to a particular belief or system of belief or lack of belief. For example, trumpeting "atheism is degenerate heresy" in front of an atheist convention will not constitute any type of offence under these provisions, at least not based on the Sep 1, 2022 at 14:01
  • racial/religious nature of the content of what you're saying. Sep 1, 2022 at 14:02
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    Maybe, but if there's no s.5, it can't be R&R aggravated. But I don't see how that's relevant to what I said in reply to Nate's comment "I'm not sure I understand the question" by explaining what makes an offence an aggravated offence as per the OP: "Can offences under S5 public order act be racially or religiously aggravated?"
    – user35069
    Sep 1, 2022 at 14:27

1 Answer 1

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Section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 makes it an offence to commit an offence under the Public Order Act (either section 4, 4A or 5) that is racially or religiously aggravated. (Section 28 defines racial or religious aggravation for the purposes of the CDA offences, and has been interpreted by the Lords in R v Rogers [2007] UKHL 8). The CPS have some legal guidance on s28-31 offences.

As Rick has noted above: the penalty for an aggravated offence can increase from merely a fine to a potential fine along with up to two years' imprisonment.

However, the aggravating provisions seem to remain in accordance with the spirit and substance of s. 29J Public Order Act 1986 in protecting the right of people to criticise or even insult any belief (or lack of belief), as long as hostility is not exhibited towards its adherents on the basis of their subscription to the beliefs.

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  • But it is important to note that it is still an absolute requirement to harbour, and apparently to also demonstrate, hostility toward members of a given racial or religious group, which is to say that as in accordance with section 29J of part 3 POA 1986 as inserted by RRHA2006, it is not criminal to express or promote opposition to a particular belief or system of belief or lack of belief. For example, trumpeting "atheism is degenerate heresy" in front of an atheist convention will not constitute any type of offence under these provisions, at least not based on the racial/religious nature Sep 1, 2022 at 14:00
  • of the content. Sep 1, 2022 at 14:00

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