CPS Wessex: Successful Hate Crime Cases in August and September 2022
During August and September this year, 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 over the last two months. The defendants in these cases all received an increased sentence to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime they had committed.
We prosecuted a man at Southampton Magistrates’ Court in August for committing six public order offences. He had used homophobic language towards a female member of security working in a Southampton pub, and then went on to shout homophobic abuse at a female police officer. He pleaded guilty to all offences at court and was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. The Court said that he would have been sentenced to one month’s imprisonment if it hadn’t been for the added severity of the homophobic language used, effectively doubling his term of imprisonment as a result. He was also ordered to pay £350 in compensation to each victim.
In a similar case prosecuted at Swindon Magistrates’ Court, a woman pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and a criminal damage offence after she was arrested by police at a Pub in Wiltshire. The woman had assaulted door staff at the pub, including spitting in one victim’s face and calling her homophobic names. She went on to cause criminal damage to her cell whilst in police custody. At court, she was given a 12-month community order which included 20 days on a Rehabilitation Activity and to be on a curfew for 120 days. The Court said that they increased her curfew by a third, from 80 days to 120 days, to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime.
In another case that also happened in a pub, we prosecuted a man who assaulted staff, racially abused a female member of staff and was abusive towards other customers. He was charged with six offences, and as a result of the strength of the case against him, he pleaded guilty to them all at the first hearing. The Court sentenced him to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. As part of a Community Order, he was also ordered to undertake 12 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and complete 200 hours of unpaid work. The Court said that they had increased the hours of unpaid work from 160 hours to 200 hours to reflect that this case involved a hate crime. This man was also ordered to pay £150 in compensation to each of the five victims in the case.
At Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court, we prosecuted a man who had racially abused two members of staff working in a supported living accommodation. He committed these offences whilst subject to a suspended sentence for an unrelated offence, so after pleading guilty, this suspended sentence was activated. For breaching his suspended sentence alone, he was given eight weeks’ imprisonment. In addition, he was given six weeks’ imprisonment for the racially aggravated offences, bringing his total term of imprisonment to 14 weeks. The Court said that if it hadn’t been for the racial hostility towards the victims in this case, he would have been given three weeks imprisonment. This means that his sentence for the racially aggravated public order offences alone were doubled to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime.
In a case we prosecuted at Swindon Magistrates’ Court, a woman pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence. Having caused a disturbance in a street, the woman was arrested and taken into custody. She then directed racist language at a member of police staff in the custody suite and was further arrested. At court, she was fined £50 and ordered to pay £100 in compensation to the victim. The Court said that she would have been fined £30 if the case had not involved racist language, so increased the fine by an additional £20 because it was a hate crime case.
At Poole Magistrates’ Court, a woman was prosecuted for shoplifting and a racially aggravated public order offence. In relation to the hate crime element of this case, she shouted racist language at a security guard in a local supermarket. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months and given a Community Order. The Court said that of the 14 weeks’ imprisonment, eight weeks represented her punishment for the racially aggravated offence. If it had not been racially aggravated, she would have been given six weeks, so she was given an extra two weeks because her behaviour included a hate crime. She also had to pay the victim £100 in compensation.
In a similar case at Poole Magistrates’ Court, a man used racist abuse towards a security guard at a supermarket in Dorset. In this case, he admitted a public order offence but said that he did not use racist language. The CPS did not accept his version of events, so the case proceeded to a trial. After hearing all the evidence in the case, he was found guilty of the more serious racially aggravated offence and was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. The court said they had increased his sentence from 8 weeks to 12 weeks to reflect the severity of the racial hatred demonstrated. He was also ordered to pay £100 in compensation to the victim.
At Bournemouth Crown Court, we prosecuted a man who shouted racist language at two victims in a communal garden. He also assaulted two police officers who arrived to deal with the incident. He pleaded guilty at court and was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment for assaulting the police officers and 12 months’ imprisonment for the racially aggravated public order offence, suspended for two years. The Judge said that he was adding an additional four months’ imprisonment, taking the period from eight months to 12 months, for the racially aggravated hate crime. A restraining order was also put in place to further protect the victims from contact with him.
In what was a road rage incident, a woman shouted homophobic language at a person driving another car. She pleaded guilty to a public order offence at Southampton Magistrates’ Court and was fined £276. The Court said she would have received a lower category fine had it not been for the homophobic language that she used. She was also ordered to pay £200 in compensation to the victim.
At Newport (IOW) Magistrates’ Court, a woman pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker and for using homophobic language. Whilst being arrested for another matter, she assaulted a police officer and called her homophobic names. At court, she was sentenced to a community order with a requirement to complete 15 days of a rehabilitation activity and 100 hours unpaid work. She was told by the Court that the unpaid work would have been for 80 hours, but that her punishment had been increased by 20 hours because of the homophobic language she used.
In another case we prosecuted at Newport (IOW) Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to racially abusing and for spitting at a police officer. He was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. When the Court considered a sentence uplift for the hate crime element, they said that he would have been given eight weeks’ imprisonment – this means that he received an increased punishment of an additional four weeks’ imprisonment because of the racial abuse he directed at the police officer.
Notes to editors
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