Organisers of indoor 'raves' should face emergency Covid crackdown

Scots who organise house parties and indoor raves should face more "severe" penalties amid concerns they cannot be touched by current emergency Covid laws.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 11:56 am
Kirkhill House

Fines of to £10,000 can be imposed in England and Wales under emergency legislation, MSPs heard today, but no such sanction exists north of border.

It comes after widespread anger over a house party staged at the Mansion House of Kirkhill in Gorebridge this month which saw over 300 hundred revellers attend.

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Nationalist MSP Christine Grahame, who represents the Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale constituency where the “rave was staged said those attending such an event are subject to new Covid emergency laws - but organisers are not. They can be pursued through ordinary criminal law, but she called for regulations to be "targeted at those who organise of permit to be organised these large gathering or raves."

Hefty fines or “confiscation of profits” should be be looked at, the MSP added.

Professor Linda Bauld, professor of public health at Edinburgh University, said such major gatherings are "highly irresponsible."

"In terms of pursuing or using regulations to penalise people, it is entirely appropriate that there should be much more severe consequences for those who irresponsibly organise these events,” she said

"The people attending wouldn't be there unless it was being organised by somebody. If there is a mismatch there, that does need to be dealt with."

Michael Clancy of the Law Society of Scotland said that problems with house parties in England and Wales have been dealt with through amendments to Coronavirus regulations which clamp down on public gatherings. This can see fines of up to £10,000 imposed on organisers of these events.

"That's a pretty hefty fine for contravening prohibition on having gatherings of up to 300 people of whatever the number might be," he said.

"That is not the situation in Scotland but it might be worthwhile looking at those regulations as they apply in England and Wales and ascertain whether there is any gap in our approach which could be filled with something like those regulations."

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