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Prevention of Incitement to Hatred Act (Northern Ireland) 1970



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Text: Stormont Government ... Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna

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Prevention of
Incitement to Hatred Act
(Northern Ireland) 1970

1970. Chapter 24

An Act to impose penalties for incitement to hatred and for the circulation of certain false statements or false reports; and for purposes connected therewith.
[2nd July 1970]


BE it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, and the Senate and the House of Commons of Northern Ireland in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-


1.   A person shall be guilty of an offence under this Act if, with intent to stir up hatred against, or arouse fear of, any section of the public in Northern Ireland- Incitement to hatred.
(a)  he publishes or distributes written or other matter which is threatening, abusive or insulting; or
(b)  he uses in any public place or at any public meeting words which are threatening, abusive or insulting;
being matter or words likely to stir up hatred against, or arouse fear of, any section of the public in Northern Ireland on grounds of religious belief, colour, race or ethnic or national origins.
2.    A person shall be guilty of an offence under this Act if, with intent to provoke a breach of the peace whether immediately or at any time thereafter, he publishes or circulates in any way whatsoever any statement or report which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true, being a statement or report likely to stir up hatred against, or arouse fear of, any section of the public in Northern Ireland on grounds of religious belief, colour, race or ethnic or national origins. Circulation of false statements or reports.
3.  - (1)  A person guilty of an offence under this Act shall be liable- Penalties.
(a)  on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding two hundred pounds, or both;
(b)  on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine not exceeding one thousand pounds, or both.
(2)  Subject to subsection (3), a prosecution for an offence under this Act shall not be instituted except by or with the consent of the Attorney-General.
(3)  Subsection (2) shall not prevent the arrest, or the issue of a warrant for the arrest, of a person for an offence under this Act, or the remand in custody or on bail of a person charged with such an offence.
4.     In this Act-Interpretation.
"meeting" means a meeting held for the purpose of the discussion of matters of public interest or for the purpose of the expression of views on such matters;
"public meeting" includes any meeting in a public place and any meeting which the public or any section of the public are permitted to attend whether on payment or otherwise;
"public place" includes any street, road or highway and any place to which, for the time being, the public have or are permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise;
"publish" and "distribute" mean publish or distribute to the public at large or to any section of the public not consisting exclusively of members of an association of which the person publishing or distributing is a member;
"written matter" includes any writing, sign or visible representation.
5.     This Act may be cited as the Prevention of Incitement to Hatred Act (Northern Ireland) 1970. Short title.


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