The Scottish Executive has backtracked on gay hate crime legislation , according to Scottish LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) group Equality Network

Equality Network highlights that in October 2004 the Scottish Executive’s Working Group on Hate Crime recommended to the Executive that they should introduce a ‘statutory aggravation’ so that a crime motivated by hate on grounds of sexual orientation, would be treated as an aggravated crime, and sentenced accordingly.

The group argues that the Executive had agreed to this and it looked ready to be made into law, yet on the last day of the Scottish parliament in June 2006 the aggravation amendments were suddenly removed.

A spokesperson for the Equality Network said: ”LGBT people and disabled people deserve equal justice in Scotland. Creating a statutory aggravation would allow homophobic hate crimes to be tracked.. and demonstrate to victims, perpetrators and the public that the law takes these crimes seriously.”

A Scottish Executive spokesperson responded that the Executive is committed to tackling prejudice and that motivated crime will not be tolerated, he said: ”It is for this reason that we have taken the time to consider carefully which course of action will be most effective in tackling this issue”.

The Executive confirmed that further statutory aggravations would not be created as ”we feel a more useful approach would be to return to this work in the context of the wider look at consistency of sentencing.”

The Executive plan to review recommendations made by the sentencing commission.

Scotland is currently the only part of the UK which does not have legislation against gay