Call for tougher party penalties

Thursday September 10th 2020


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame has asked the First Minister to consider amending Coronavirus legislation to allow for tougher penalties for the organisers of illicit mass gatherings and raves which contravene coronavirus guidance.

This follows police breaking up a rave of over 300 people from across the UK at Kirkhill Mansion near Gorebridge in Ms Grahame’s constituency recently. The owners, who were staying off-site at the time, stated this was done without their knowledge having been booked for a small family group in line with Covid restrictions and are pursuing legal action against the organisers.

Whilst the police are continuing to investigate what charges can be brought, at present the organisers cannot be fined under coronavirus legislation as the fixed penalty fines relate to people attending such gatherings rather than people organising them.

This is different to the situation in England where organisers can be fined £10,000 due recent changes to the law there. Ms Grahame asked the First Minister in parliament today to consider whether similar measures could be brought in in Scotland.

SNP MSP Ms Grahame said:

“Large gatherings such as what we saw at Kirkhill Mansion recently are completely contrary to the current guidance and endanger not only those attending but everyone they subsequently come into contact with.

“It is completely selfish and irresponsible to attend such gatherings but it is particularly wicked to seek to make a profit by running these events illicitly, completely ignoring the huge risk to public health.

“I want to ensure police are able to pursue those who put profit before lives in doing so and allowing for more substantial fines could be one way of doing this.”

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