Tougher prison sentences for “hate crime” perpetrators in Kent, Surrey and Sussex

22/08/2017

Defendants in Kent, Surrey and Sussex are being handed stiffer sentences because they have committed a hate crime motivated by prejudice.

A total of 106 criminal sentences were 'uplifted' in Kent, Surrey and Sussex between January and March this year.

Crimes which are eligible for an uplifted sentence are any that are motivated 'wholly or partly' by hostility based on perceived religion, race, sexual orientation or disability.

The increased sentences ranged from extended prison terms to longer community punishments, depending on the crime.

Examples included:

Kent:

  • A man who was jailed for 26 weeks, instead of being given a suspended prison sentence, for stripping naked outside a mosque and shouting racial and religious obscenities.
  • A woman who was given 20 additional hours of unpaid work, taking her total to 100 hours, after screaming homophobic abuse at a police officer while she was being arrested in Sevenoaks.
  • A man who had his fine increased from £115 to £180, after yelling racist abuse at a security guard at Thanet Magistrates’ Court. 
  • A woman whose curfew order was increased by four weeks to 12 weeks, after racially abusing a woman who was working in a pub in Maidstone and shouting homophobic abuse at a police officer.

Surrey:

  • A man who received an additional five week jail sentence, after yelling racist abuse at a man at his home in Chertsey and causing criminal damage. 
  • Two women who were both fined £180, rather than £120, for racially abusing a woman outside a school in Epsom, when she was collecting her children. 
  • A man who was handed a £500 fine and ordered to pay £300 compensation to his victim, instead of being given a conditional discharge, after yelling religious abuse at a Muslim cab controller in Staines.

Sussex:

  • A man who was given a 12 week suspended jail term, instead of eight weeks, after religiously abusing a man at his home in Crawley and threatening him.
  • A man whose community order was upgraded from low to medium level after he racially abused a security guard in a shop in Hove. 
  • A man who was fined £200, instead of £120, after making homophobic comments to a worker in a fast food restaurant in Seaford.  
  • A man who was jailed for 16 weeks, instead of 12 weeks, after punching a man and shouting homophobic abuse at a pub in Newhaven.

Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: "These longer sentences are a powerful way of sending the message that hate crime is viewed very seriously in the eyes of the law. I would encourage all victims to report hate crimes as we can and do make every effort to ensure that those responsible are held fully accountable and these examples highlight ways in which this happens in Kent, Surrey and Sussex every day."

The CPS has been highlighting hate crime and associated issues this week through our #hatecrimematters campaign. You can find further information and a range of materials for use on social media and online on the CPS website.

More details of the CPS South East’s work to tackle all forms of hate crime are available on our website, which is updated monthly with the latest successful hate crime convictions.

CPS South East works closely with local community groups and our Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel is made up of community representatives and members of criminal justice agencies, who work together to improve the prosecution process and our service. We are currently looking for members of the public to join the panel, particularly those with a background in representing people affected by issues related to hate crime - disability, racial, religious, homophobic, transphobic and biphobic. If you would be interested, please email SouthEast.Communications@cps.gsi.gov.uk

Ends


Notes to Editors:

Jaswant Narwal is the Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS South East, which is responsible for prosecuting crime in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.