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(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)the person communicates material to another person, and
(b)either Condition A or Condition B is satisfied.
(2)Condition A is that—
(a)the material consists of, contains or implies a threat, or an incitement, to carry out a seriously violent act against a person or against persons of a particular description,
(b)the material or the communication of it would be likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm, and
(c)the person communicating the material—
(i)intends by doing so to cause fear or alarm, or
(ii)is reckless as to whether the communication of the material would cause fear or alarm.
(3)For the purposes of Condition A, where the material consists of or includes an image (whether still or moving), the image is taken to imply a threat or incitement such as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (2) if—
(a)the image depicts or implies the carrying out of a seriously violent act (whether actual or fictitious) against a person or against persons of a particular description (whether the person or persons depicted are living or dead or actual or fictitious), and
(b)a reasonable person would be likely to consider that the image implies the carrying out of a seriously violent act against an actual person or against actual persons of a particular description.
(4)Subsection (3) does not affect the generality of subsection (2)(a).
(5)Condition B is that—
(a)the material is threatening, and
(b)the person communicating it intends by doing so to stir up hatred on religious grounds.
(6)It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1) to show that the communication of the material was, in the particular circumstances, reasonable.
(7)A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable—
(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to a fine, or to both, or
(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.
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Text created by the Scottish Executive department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills
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