CPS Wessex: Successful Hate Crime Cases in April 2022
During the month of April, prosecutors from CPS Wessex secured successful outcomes in a variety of hate crime cases across the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and Wiltshire.
Under hate crime legislation, courts must pass an increased sentence where the prosecutor has evidenced that criminal offences either demonstrate or have been motivated by hostility towards a person’s race, religion, disability, transgender identity or sexuality. This is known as a “sentence uplift”.
Here is a selection of the hate crime cases we prosecuted in April 2022. The defendants in these cases all received an increased sentence to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime they had committed:
At Poole Magistrates Court this month, a man pleaded guilty to assaulting his neighbours who were a gay couple. He shouted homophobic language at them and assaulted them whilst in the communal area of a residential property. The man was charged with two counts of assault by beating and possession of cannabis and was sentenced to a conditional discharge for 24 months. He also had to pay £100 compensation to each victim as part of the sentence uplift to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime element in this case.
A man pleaded guilty to a public order offence at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court in April, after he used homophobic language towards a police officer whilst being arrested. The court said that he would have been fined £150 but increased it to £300 because using homophobic language is a hate crime.
In another case prosecuted by CPS Wessex in April, a man pleaded guilty to two racially aggravated public order offences. He was arrested by the police for unrelated matters, including assault and criminal damage. Whilst in police custody, the man racially abused two police officers. He was sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment for the racially aggravated offences instead of 12 weeks to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime.
At Poole Magistrates’ Court, a woman pleaded guilty to two racially aggravated public order offences after she used racist language towards two victims. In this case, a Victim Impact Statement was read to the court at the sentence hearing to demonstrate the impact the crime had on the victim. The defendant was given a 12-month conditional discharge, which the court said would have been nine months had it not been for the racial aggravation. She was also ordered to pay each victim £50 in compensation and was given a restraining order for 12 months.
In an example of a case which involved a religiously motivated hate crime, a man was charged with two public order offences, one of which was religiously aggravated. He shouted abusive language to the victim outside of a church, using words which demonstrated hostility towards the victim’s faith. He pleaded guilty to both offences and was sentenced to 80 hours unpaid work. The court said he would have been given 40 hours unpaid work had it not been for the seriousness of the religious hatred he demonstrated during this offence.
At Newport Magistrates’ Court (Isle of Wight) in April, a man pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman with a walking stick. This was a disability hate crime because had the victim not been disabled, the defendant would not have assaulted her. The court said that they would have sentenced him to a community order, but given the seriousness of the hate crime element, the case passed the custody threshold. He was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment (suspended for 18 months) and was ordered to undertake 25 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.