CPS Wessex: Successful Hate Crime Cases in June 2022
With Pride Month only just reaching its conclusion, we have decided to focus our monthly summary of hate crime prosecutions in June on cases which involved victims being targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In each of the following cases, the defendant was convicted of a hate crime and received a more onerous sentence, known as a sentence uplift.
In some of these cases, the defendants were made subject to restraining orders. Such orders are intended to be preventative and protective. Following a conviction, the court can make a restraining order for the purpose of protecting the victim or victims of the offence, or any other person mentioned in the order, from conduct which amounts to harassment or will cause a fear of violence.
Breaching a restraining order is a criminal offence in its own right and is punishable by a maximum of five years’ imprisonment in the Crown Court, or a maximum of six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine in the Magistrates’ Court.
At Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court, a woman pleaded guilty to sending an offensive communication after she sent transphobic tweets to the victim in the case. When she was sentenced, the court said that they would have given her a medium level community order, but because of the seriousness of using transphobic language, she was given an increased punishment. She was given a 12-month community order which included 15 days of a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 120 hours unpaid work. The woman was also ordered to pay the victim £300 in compensation and made the subject of a restraining order which prevents her from contacting the victim in any way for 12 months.
At Southampton Magistrates’ Court this month, a man pleaded guilty to threatening to cause criminal damage, a racist and homophobically motivated public order offence, and to assaulting an emergency worker. Police were called to a dispute between neighbours and arrested the man for threatening to cause criminal damage. Whilst under arrest, the defendant shouted racist and homophobic abuse and assaulted a police officer. He was sentenced to 39 weeks’ imprisonment, which was a longer term of imprisonment than it would have been had the offences not been aggravated by the racist and homophobic language he used. The man was also ordered to pay a total of £600 in compensation to the victims and a restraining order was put in place to prevent him from having any further contact with his neighbour for two years.
In a case heard at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to a public order offence after he used homophobic language towards police officers. When he was sentenced, the court fined him £323 stating that the amount was increased from a Band B threshold to the more serious Band C threshold under the sentencing guidelines to reflect the hate crime element of the case.
At Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court, a woman pleaded guilty to multiple offences after she caused a disturbance in Swindon which included assaulting a member of the public, racially and homophobically motivated public order offences, and assaulting police officers. In respect of the hate crime offences, the woman was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, increased from 18 weeks to reflect the seriousness of the homophobic language she used whilst assaulting a member of the public. She was also fined £150 each for two racially aggravated public order offences, both of which were increased by £50 as a result of the racist language she used. In total she was sentenced to 20 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. She was also ordered to do 25 days of Rehabilitation Activity Requirement as part of a community order.
Also this month, a man pleaded guilty to racially aggravated and homophobically motivated public order offences at Swindon Magistrates’ Court. He used racist and homophobic language towards police officers whilst in custody. The court sentenced him to a 12-month community order which included 40 hours unpaid work, 20 days of a rehabilitation activity and tagged for 60 days. The court said that he would have received 15 days rehabilitation activity and been tagged for 30 days had it not been for the hate crime element of the case.
In another example of a hate crime prosecuted at Swindon Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to a public order offence after he shouted homophobic abuse at a victim in the street. He was sentenced to a 12-month community order which included 80 hours of unpaid work, increased from 50 hours in recognition of the seriousness of the homophobic language he used. He was also ordered to complete 20 days of a rehabilitation activity, increased from 15 days to reflect the hate crime. The man in this case was also made subject to a restraining order preventing him from having contact with the victim for three years.
There was also a case at Swindon Magistrates’ Court in June, where a man pleaded guilty to exposure and a public order offence. He had exposed his genitals to a woman and called her a homophobic name. He was sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment for the exposure offence and to four weeks’ imprisonment for the public order offence. In relation to the latter, the court then increased the sentence by a further two weeks to account for the seriousness of using homophobic language. He will also be on the Sex Offenders Register for seven years.
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