Edinburgh based lawyer Daniel Donaldson and his partner, who have been subjected to an ongoing anti-gay attacks, say they are planning to relocate becaue they are unable to take action against the teen perpetrators.
The couple has been attacked by youth; being abused verbally, having their car vandelised, and bricks and bottles hurled at their Edinburgh home.
The lawyer reported that he was frustrated by the pace of the justice system as the under-aged youths (below 16 year-old) have been referred to a Children’s Panel but then are free to carry on their attacks as before.
Donaldson, a specialist in equalities law, believes that that the rights of the child have blocked their right as victims of a hate crime.
He has now written to the Justice Secretary, the Lord Advocate and others, protesting at the authorities’ “ineffective response to hate crime committed by children” against him and his partner.
Although the lawyer praised the action of the Scottish police, who told KaleidoScot that they are currently investigating the hate crime, he said they themselves have insufficient resources, despite hate crime being classed as a national priority.
Donaldson said the Crown Office has not reviewed the effectiveness of the anti-hate crime legislation and that “public policy considerations designed to promote the rights of the child – even if the children concerned are perpetrators of vicious abuse – trump those of the right of the victim to seek redress”.
As a result, the lawyer told The Herald today: “My partner and I are now looking to relocate away from Edinburgh. We have had enough. I hope that when we move, we get to enjoy the peace and quiet in our own home, and the freedom from abuse, harassment and vandalism that we should expect.
According to The Herald, Scottish councils have the power to take measures against anti-social behaviour but are more reluctant to do so compared with the rest of the UK.
Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network called upon authorities to speed up proceedings, telling KaleidoScot: “The justice system should respond to crime promptly, and as effectively as possible.
“There are specific issues to be considered where the alleged perpetrators are children, and the case is in the remit of the Children’s Panel, but no-one should have to be subjected to a series of repeated hate crimes.”