CPS seeks community views to improve prosecutions for crimes against disabled people

14/10/2016

As part of Hate Crime Awareness Week CPS nationally has launched a public consultation and is asking for community views to help shape future policy to improve the response to prosecuting crimes against Disabled people.

Steve Hoolohan, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS Wessex (Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Dorset and Wiltshire) said: "Crimes against Disabled People and Disability Hate Crime have a huge impact not only on the victim throughout our communities, and has no place in our society. We are looking at our policy on prosecuting these crimes and actively seeking the views of communities to help us shape our policies.

"Over the 12 months up to the end of June 2016, we have prosecuted 49 Disability Hate Crimes across Wessex, with 83.7 per cent resulting in a conviction. This is only the tip of the iceberg, we know that disabled people are victims of hate crime on a daily basis and we hope these figures provide confidence that the Crown Prosecution Service will do all it can to support victims and achieve justice for them thereby encouraging more victims to come forward.

"In August Timothy Milsom, 48, was sentenced at Weymouth Magistrates' Court having pleaded guilty on 10 August to two Section 4A Public Order Act 1986 charges of causing harassment, alarm and distress to a disabled victim whose disability affects his personal appearance. The victim, a bar tender was disturbed by Mr Milsom who was shouting unpleasant abuse regarding a television programme about a child with Down's Syndrome. The victim asked Mr Milsom to 'keep it down' as he was in a public place. To add to this, shortly afterwards Mr Milsom started to homophobically verbally abuse a gay customer and in response to this the victim asked him to leave the pub. Mr Milsom then turned his attention to the victim, towards whom he used a number of disgusting names referring to his physical appearance and perceived mental disability in front of customers. Months later Mr Milsom came across the victim in a supermarket and made similar hurtful comments again.

"In his prepared statement the victim told the court he had never before been so hatefully abused because of his disability which he found extremely hurtful. He said he found it difficult enough to live with his disabilities without having to be reminded so unpleasantly about it by this 'bully boy of a man'. Mr Milsom was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment which was suspended for 12 months with 36 days rehabilitative activity requirement and curfew for four weeks. The court pointed out that this would have only been a four-week community order had it not been a Hate Crime. The court also made a two-year restraining order prohibiting Mr Milsom from making any contact with the victim and also banning him from the victim's place of work. The court further ordered Mr Milsom to pay the victim £300 compensation for the distress caused".