Skip to main content

Accessibility controls

Text size
Contrast
Main content area

Prosecuting homophobic and transphobic hate crime: case studies

Prosecuting homophobic hate crime: a case study

Gale Gilchrist, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor and Hate Crime Lead for CPS Yorkshire & Humberside:

“The victim had been out in Leeds celebrating Pride and went to a pub with friends.  

“In the pub, the offender picked up a glass from the table and swung it at the victim, hitting him in the face and causing the glass to smash.

“The offender continued to assault the victim, putting him in a headlock and directing homophobic abuse at him.

“The victim suffered serious cuts to his neck and face and was taken to hospital to be treated for injuries.

“After the assault, the offender was seen on CCTV running away from the incident. He was arrested by police the following day.”

Building the strongest possible case

"The police investigated the crime and we asked for further evidence to build the strongest possible case. It was clear from the evidence that the offender was motivated by hostility towards the victim’s sexual orientation, therefore this was a hate crime.

“On the day of the trial, he pleaded guilty at the Crown Court.”

Applying for increased sentences for hate crime

“Sentences are for the court to decide - not us - but as prosecutors we do have powers to ask the court to give the offender an increased sentence where we can prove that a crime was a hate crime.

“In this case, the offender was sentenced to 27 months in prison - increased from 24 months to reflect that the crime was a hate crime.

“I hope this sends a strong message to our communities that homophobic hate crimes will not be tolerated.

“This was a particularly vicious attack on a day that started off as a celebration. No one should have to experience fear or acts of violence because of who they are. That is why, where a case meets our legal test, we will always prosecute hate crimes and apply for higher sentences for those who commit them.”

Any crime can be prosecuted as a hate crime if there’s evidence that the offender demonstrated or was motivated by hostility towards a person’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

Find out more about how we prosecute hate crime.


Transphobic Hate Crime

Heather Gilmore, Crown Advocate for CPS Yorkshire and Humberside describes the case and how we prosecuted it:

“The victim was in a relationship with the offender’s ex-partner. The offender sent the victim a series of abusive messages which included transphobic language.

“On another day, the victim was out with friends. The offender saw him and assaulted him twice. The victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries – he was treated but has been left with lasting damage to his mental and physical health.

Building the strongest possible case

“The police investigated the crime and sent us the evidence. We reviewed the evidence and gave the police advice about what additional evidence they could look for to prove that the crime was motivated by hostility towards the victim because of his transgender identity.

“By working closely with our police colleagues, we made sure that we had all the evidence we needed to make the strongest possible case against the offender in court.

Presenting the evidence to court 

“It was important that we were able to show the court the evidence of what happened – but also the devastating, personal effects of this crime. The victim wrote a personal statement which we presented in court.  It described the impact of the assaults on his life and on his mental wellbeing.

Applying for increased sentences for hate crime

“While we’re not responsible for sentencing – that’s for the Judge to decide – we have powers to apply for an increased sentence in hate crime cases. This means that, if we can prove the crime was a hate crime, we can ask the court to give the offender a higher sentence to reflect the severity of these crimes.

“In this case, we applied for the increase and the judge extended the sentence by two months, telling the offender that the transphobic nature of his crimes were wholly unacceptable.

“The offender was ordered to pay £3,000 compensation to the victim, given a restraining order preventing him from communicating with or approaching the victim, and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment, suspended for 24 months. This means that, if he reoffends or breaks condition of his restraining order, he could be sent to prison.

“I was really pleased to get justice for the victim in this case. The injuries he suffered would have taken a long time to recover from, both physically and mentally, and I hope the victim and members of the LGBT+ community feel reassured that we will seek justice for victims of transphobic hate crime.”

Any crime can be prosecuted as a hate crime if there’s evidence that the offender demonstrated or was motivated by hostility towards a person’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

Find out more about how we prosecute hate crime.

Further reading

Scroll to top