CPS Wessex: Successful Hate Crime Cases in March 2022
During the month of March, 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 March 2022. The defendants in these cases all received an increased sentence to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime they had committed:
The defendant pleaded guilty at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court to harassing the victim repeatedly on social media after he posted across a number of different public platforms that the victim was homosexual. The defendant was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, which was suspended for 18 months. The court announced that the defendant must also complete 40 hours of unpaid work, to reflect the severity of the hate crime and issued a restraining order, to prevent future contact with the victim, or further messages about the victim being posted on social media.
At Southampton Magistrates’ Court, a defendant pleaded guilty to racially and homophobically motivated public order offences after he directed racist and homophobic language at police officers. He was sentenced to 20 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement as part of a 12-month Community Order. He was also given 50 hours unpaid work, which was doubled to 100 hours by the court to reflect the severity of the hate crime.
Also this month, a defendant pleaded guilty to a public order offence and possession of an offensive weapon at Poole Magistrates’ Court. The defendant was in a supermarket when he started calling the two female victims, words that were homophobic. He also threatened to hit them with a rolling pin. He was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison for possessing the offensive weapon. He was also sentenced to six weeks in prison for the homophobic public order offence. He would have received four weeks for the public order offence, but the Court increased the sentence by an additional two weeks to reflect the hate crime aspect. The defendant was also ordered to pay £100 compensation to both victims.
At Swindon Magistrates’ Court in March, a defendant pleaded guilty to a public order offence after he used homophobic language towards a Police Community Support Officer. He was sentenced to a Community Order for 12 months and was ordered to complete 90 hours of unpaid work. He would have been given 60 hours, but the court increased it to 90 hours to reflect the severity of the hate crime.
A defendant at Southampton Magistrates’ Court pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article and a racially aggravated public order offence, having repeatedly used racist language towards a police officer. Police were called to a block of flats in Southampton, where they found the defendant in possession of a knife. The defendant was arrested and once at the police station, began using repeated racist language towards a police officer. The victim provided a Victim Impact Statement that was read to the court during the sentence hearing, to detail the impact the racist language had on them. The defendant was sentenced to 18 weeks’ imprisonment for possession of the knife. In addition, the court announced that they would have given him 17 weeks’ imprisonment for the public order offence alone, but because it a was racially motivated hate crime, the court added another nine weeks taking the total custodial sentence to 26 weeks.
At Swindon Magistrates’ Court, a defendant pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence after he became abusive and used racist language in a shop. He was fined £186, but the court increased his fine to £249, making him pay an additional £63 to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime.
A defendant at Poole Magistrates’ Court this month also received an increased sentence for using racist language. He was in a takeaway restaurant in Bournemouth when he racially abused staff and broke a window in the premises. He pleaded guilty to assault, a racially aggravated public order offence and criminal damage. He was fined £1153, which the court announced would have been a lower amount had it not been for the seriousness of the racist language he used. He also had to pay £192 compensation to the victim for the criminal damage, and £150 to the victim for assaulting him.
In another case at Poole Magistrates’ Court in March, a defendant was found guilty after trial of assaulting a police officer and guilty of two public order offences, one of which was racially aggravated. The defendant was racially abusive to a security guard in a shop and then spat on a police officer whilst in custody. He was sentenced to six months in prison for the assault and a further six months in prison for the racially aggravated public order offence. The court announced that the defendant would have been given four months in prison for the public order offence but increased the term by an additional two months to reflect the racist language. The custodial sentences were ordered to run consecutively, giving the defendant a total of 12 months in prison, which was suspended for 12 months. The defendant was also ordered to undertake 20 days of Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and to pay £250 compensation to each victim.
At Southampton Magistrates’ Court, a defendant pleaded guilty to two assaults and possession of an offensive weapon. Outside a pub in Southampton, the defendant began shouting at a woman in her car and approached her, calling her names that targeted her disability. He then assaulted the victim by slapping her. When he was arrested, he was found to be in possession of an offensive weapon, and then spat at a Police Detention Officer at the Police Station. He was sentenced to a 12-month Community Order, which included eight days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, and was ordered to pay a total of £175 compensation to the victims. He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, which was increased from 80 hours. The court announced that they added 20 hours to reflect the fact this was a hate crime and that the defendant had demonstrated hostility toward the victim because of her disability.