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CPS Wessex: Successful Hate Crime Cases in February 2022

|News, Hate crime

February was LGBT+ History Month, a time to promote equality and diversity, celebrate inclusion, acknowledge how far society has come, but also to recognise what still needs to change so that everyone can live freely, without fear, and with equal opportunity.

Suzanne Llewellyn, CPS Wessex Chief Crown Prosecutor, is passionate about working with our local communities to understand what we’ve done well and how we can improve our approach to prosecuting hate crimes. Suzanne meets with stakeholders and community members at our Local Scrutiny and Improvement Hate Crime Panel to discuss recently prosecuted cases, and also regularly hosts Community Conversations on a variety of topics to improve public confidence and knowledge of the CPS and our role within the criminal justice system.

Suzanne said: “We will not tolerate hate crimes in our community, and we will do all we can to prosecute perpetrators where our legal test is met. All of our prosecutors are trained on how to effectively prosecute hate crimes and will ask the court to impose increased sentences to reflect the seriousness of any hate crime.”

This month, we’re sharing with you examples of successful outcomes in cases involving homophobic and transphobic hate crimes:

At Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court in February, a man pleaded guilty to a public order offence after he shouted abusive language at a gay couple, calling them homophobic names. He was fined £200 by the court, an increase from £135 to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime element. He also had to pay £50 in compensation to each victim.

Also this month, a man pleaded guilty at Southampton Magistrates’ Court to assaulting two paramedics and to using homophobic language towards a police officer. The paramedics were treating the man for a head injury, but he became aggressive and threatened to assault them. He was also abusive towards a police officer, using homophobic language which constituted a public order offence. At court, the man was sentenced to 11 weeks' imprisonment for these offences and was given an additional five weeks' imprisonment because of the homophobic language that was used, taking the total to 16 weeks' imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay £75 in compensation to each victim.

In another example of a case involving the abuse of emergency workers, a man pleaded guilty at Southampton Magistrates’ Court to assaulting and using abusive language, including homophobic words, towards six police officers. At sentence, the man received nine weeks' imprisonment for the public order offences, which was increased from six weeks to reflect the hate crime element of the crime. In total, he was sentenced to 20 weeks' imprisonment and was ordered to pay £75 in compensation to each victim.

Also at Southampton Magistrates’ Court in February, a man pleaded guilty to public order offences after he repeatedly used homophobic language towards police officers on a busy high street. The man was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, which was then increased to 12 weeks to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime.

At Poole Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to theft, burglary, assault and a public order offence after he was caught burgling a shop. A shop worker was assaulted during the incident, and a police officer was called homophobic names. The man was sentenced to 16 weeks' imprisonment for the theft, burglary and assault. He was also sentenced to 16 weeks' imprisonment for the homophobic public order offence, increased from 12 weeks to reflect the hate crime, to be served concurrently.

In a case that was dealt with at Swindon Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to a homophobic public order offence after he abused a police officer at a football match. This man was part of a group of Bristol Rovers football fans who were being dispersed by police after a confrontation with Swindon Town fans. He was given a three-year Football Banning Order, preventing him from attending all regulated football matches in the UK, including any home or away fixtures for Bristol Rovers, and any England fixtures. The man was also fined £320, but the court increased the figure to £576 to reflect the severity of the homophobic language used towards the police officer.

At Portsmouth Crown Court this month, a man was convicted of sexual assault involving a victim who identified as gender fluid. This case involved a transphobic hate crime, the seriousness of which the Judge acknowledged when he sentenced the man to two years and three months' imprisonment. The man in this case was also put on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

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