National Hate Crime Awareness Week

15/10/2015

To coincide with National Hate Crime Awareness Week, here's a good example of a recently-prosecuted homophobic hate crime case where section 146 was successfully applied by the CPS. This means that, if the court agrees it is applicable, the sentence the defendant receives is increased to take account of the hate crime element of the offence.

On 24 August 2015, in the early hours of the morning, the victims, a gay couple who were  asleep in bed, were woken to the sound of someone attempting to kick their front door in.

One of them opened the window to remonstrate with the individual, only to receive a torrent of shouted homophobic abuse. The defendant then went to the back door and began to kick that too, shouting further homophobic comments. The other victim called the police, who were able to arrest Bird a short time later from a nearby property.

Bird pleaded guilty to criminal damage on 9 September at Barnsley Magistrates Court and he was sentenced to 8 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months, 60 hours unpaid work, and a restraining order prohibiting him from the street where the victims lived was imposed.

Had the s146 not been applied, the defendant would have received a community penalty only, without the suspended custodial sentence he was given as a result of the  hate crime element of the offence.