Commentary

58 Blasphemy and religious hatred

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58 Blasphemy and religious hatred

58 Blasphemy and religious hatred

Blasphemy is still a criminal offence at common law. Blasphemy is defined as the publication (orally or, for libel, in writing) of ‘any contemptuous, reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous matter relating to God, Jesus Christ, the Bible or the formularies of the Church of England’1. The offence is punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment at the discretion of the court2.

On the coming into force of the relevant provisions of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 it will be an offence to publish or distribute threatening material if publication is intended to

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