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Racist and religious crime – CPS prosecution policy

Annex A - Legislation used to prosecute racist and religious crime


Racially or religiously aggravated offences - Crime and Disorder Act 1998(amended by Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001)

Offence

Racially/religiously aggravated wounding (s.29(1)(a) CDA)

Maximum Penalty - aggravated form

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Maximum Penalty - basic form

Crown Court - 5 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Offence

Racially/religiously aggravated actual bodily harm (s.29(1)(b) CDA)

Maximum Penalty - aggravated form

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Maximum Penalty - basic form

Crown Court - 5 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Offence

Racially/religiously aggravated common assault (s.29(1)(c) CDA)

Maximum Penalty - aggravated form

Crown Court - 2 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Maximum Penalty - basic form

Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be tried in magistrates' court in basic form

Offence

Racially/religiously aggravated damage (s.30(1)(c) CDA)

Maximum Penalty - aggravated form

Crown Court - 14 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Maximum Penalty - basic form

Crown Court - 10 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 3 months

Notes

Where value is less that £5,000 basic offence can only be tried in magistrates' Court

Offence

Racially/religiously aggravated fear/provocation of violence (s.31(1)(a) CDA)

Maximum Penalty - aggravated form

Crown Court - 2 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Maximum Penalty - basic form

Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be tried in magistrates' court in basic form

Offence

Racially/religiously aggravated intentional harassment/alarm/distress (s.31(1)(b) CDA)

Maximum Penalty - aggravated form

Crown Court - 2 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Maximum Penalty - basic form

Magistrates court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be tried in magistrates. court in basic form

Offence

Racially/religiously aggravated harassment/alarm/distress (s.31(1)(c) CDA)

Maximum Penalty - aggravated form

Magistrates' court - fine up to level 4

Maximum Penalty - basic form

Magistrates' court - fine up to level 3

Notes

Can only be tried in magistrates' court in either aggravated or basic form. Need to put charges for both aggravated and basic offence.

Offence

Racially/religiously aggravated harassment/stalking without violence (s.32(1)(a) CDA)

Maximum Penalty - aggravated form

Crown Court - 2 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Maximum Penalty - basic form

Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be tried in magistrates' court in basic form. Court can impose restraining order on conviction of either aggravated or basic offence.

Offence

Racially/religiously aggravated harassment/stalking with fear of violence (s.32(1)(b) CDA)

Maximum Penalty - aggravated form

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Maximum Penalty - basic form

Crown Court - 5 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Court can impose restraining order on conviction of either aggravated or basic offence.

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Incitement to racial hatred - sections 17-29 Public Order Act 1986

Offence

s.18 - using threatening/abusive/insulting words or behaviour or displaying written material with intent/likely to stir up racial hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

Offence

s.19 - publishing/distributing written material which is threatening/abusive/insulting with intent/likely to stir up racial hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

Offence

s.20 - public performance of a play involving threatening/abusive/insulting words/behaviour with intent/likely to stir up racial hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court .- 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

Offence

s.21 - distributing/showing/playing a recording of visual images or sounds that are threatening/abusive/ insulting with intent/likely to stir up racial hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

Offence

s.22 - broadcasting or including programme in cable programme service involving threatening/abusive/insulting visual images or sounds with intent/likely to stir up racial hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

Offence

s.23 - possessing racially inflammatory material/material for display/publication distribution with intent/likely to stir up racial hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court -7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

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Incitement to religious hatred - sections 29B-29G Public Order Act 1986

Offence

s.29B – use of words or behaviour/display of written material intended to stir up religious hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

Offence

s.29C - publishing or distributing written material intended to stir up religious hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

Offence

s.29D – public performance of a play intended to stir up religious hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

Offence

s.29E – distributing/showing/playing a recording intended to stir up religious hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

Offence

s.29F – broadcasting/including a programme in a programme service intended to stir up religious hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

Offence

s.29G - possession of inflammatory material intended to stir up religious hatred

Maximum Penalty

Crown Court - 7 years imprisonment
Magistrates' court - 6 months

Notes

Can only be prosecuted with consent of Attorney General. Referred to CPS Counter Terrorism Division to be dealt with by specialist prosecutor.

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Football Offences - s.3 Football Offences Act 1991 (amended by s.9 Football (Offences and Disorder) Act 1999)

Offence

Engaging in or taking part in indecent/racialist chanting at a designated football match

Maximum Penalty

Fine up to level 3

Notes

Court can impose a football banning order in addition to any other penalty. Breach of banning order carries up to 6 months imprisonment. Does not apply to religious chanting - BUT NB. Other offences (such as racially/religiously aggravated public order offences or assaults)may be more appropriate

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