Youth receives six month sentence uplift for disability hate crime

25/08/2017

At Basingstoke Youth Court on July, 7, 2017 a 17-year-old received a 12 month Youth Rehabilitation order for criminal damage, increased by six months after the court acknowledged that the offence was aggravated because the defendant showed hostility towards the victim's disability.

James Burnham, Hate Crime Coordinator for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Wessex said: "Mocking, intimidating, and targeting  someone because of their disability is utterly unacceptable. Perhaps offenders think that victims, because of their disability, either cannot defend themselves or are too scared to do so. What they may forget is that the best way for victims to protect themselves is to report these incidents to the police.

"Our aim, with the police, is to bring these offenders  before the court and for the public to know what pernicious crimes they have committed.

"In this case the defendant kicked the front door of a building in Winchester where the victim happened to be. He verbally abused the victim after she had challenged him on his behaviour and clearly targeted her disability when making a threat to 'batter' her and calling her 'retarded', a 'disabled …' alongside other appalling insults. The victim suffers from cerebral palsy athetoid, which affects the right side of her body. In her victim personal impact statement she explained that it was clear to the defendant that she was disabled as she walks with a stick, can only use one arm to complete tasks and has involuntary movements. She added that she truly believed that it was the defendant's intention to cause her distress.

"We would like to praise the victim for her bravery in contacting the police. As a result the defendant was arrested, brought before the court and due to the compelling evidence gathered in this case he was left with no choice but to plead guilty.

"Our prosecutor at Basingstoke Youth Court made it clear that the defendant's criminal behaviour was aggravated because he showed hostility towards the victim's disability and as result his sentence  received a six month uplift. 

"Today is the last day of our Hate Crime Campaign week, #HateCrimeMatters with a focus today on Disability Hate Crime. We urge victims and witnesses of crime against disabled people to report these crimes to the police, for these offenders to be brought before the courts."

Notes to editors

The defendant was sentenced to a 18 month Youth Rehabilitation order in total.