CPS Wessex: Successful Hate Crime Cases in May 2022
In June, we are joining with our CPS colleagues, criminal justice partners and local communities to celebrate Pride month.
It’s a wonderful time to promote inclusion, equality and to recognise how far society has progressed in accepting people for who they are no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Having said that, it’s also important to shine a light on issues that continue to deeply affect members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Hate crime, when someone commits a crime against you because of your sexual orientation, or because you are transgender, sadly continues to be a regular experience across the LGBTQ+ community and it is simply unacceptable.
It is our job to prosecute these crimes, and CPS Wessex is proud of the role we play in bringing offenders to justice.
How we are tackling hate crime based on transgender identity and sexual orientation
Our staff complete specialist training on transphobic, homophobic and biphobic hate crime to make sure they understand all aspects of the law and the context of their decision making.
We’ve developed legal guidance on this type of hate crime to ensure we are presenting the strongest possible case in court.
We’ve developed guidance for our prosecutors to improve their understanding of offensive language to ensure the evidence is fully understood.
We work with organisations who support lesbian, gay and bisexual victims of hate crime and members of the transgender community to better understand and appreciate the impact of these crimes and what more we can do to bring offenders to justice.
Over the past month, we have successfully prosecuted a number of Hate Crime cases that involved homophobic or transphobic offences.
In each of these examples, the defendants, faced with the overwhelming evidence against them, entered guilty pleas and were given more serious punishments by the court in recognition of the Hate Crimes committed.
At Newport (IOW) Magistrates’ Court in May, a man pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly and to a public order offence when he used homophobic language towards a police officer whilst being arrested. The court fined him £40 for being drunk and disorderly, and £120 for using homophobic language while committing the public order offence. The court announced that they had increased his fine from £80 to £120 to reflect the severity of the hate crime element of the case.
At Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to two homophobic offences last month. He used homophobic language towards a police officer whilst on the telephone to him, and then later used homophobic language again whilst being arrested. At the sentence hearing, the court fined him £250 (increased from £200 because it was a Hate Crime) and ordered him to pay the victim £50 in compensation.
In another case at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court, a woman pleaded guilty to shoplifting and two assault offences, one of which was aggravated by the homophobic language that she used. The woman was caught shoplifting, assaulted a security guard and called her a homophobic name. When sentencing the woman for this case, the court said that she had to pay £70 in compensation to the victim. The compensation amount was increased from £50 to £70 to reflect the fact that she had used homophobic language.
In a case that was prosecuted at Poole Magistrates’ Court, a woman pleaded guilty to harassing her neighbour, which included the use of homophobic language. She was sentenced to 25 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement as part of a 12-month community order and fined £100. The court announced that they had effectively doubled the fine as this was a hate crime case. She was made subject to a 12-month restraining order preventing her from contacting the victim in the case.
At Poole Magistrates’ Court, we prosecuted another example of a Hate Crime when a man used homophobic language and demonstrated hostility towards people with a disability whilst being spoken to by police officers. He also threatened one officer with violence. At court, he pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker and to two public order offences aggravated by his homophobic words and language targeting people with disabilities. He was fine £150 for the assault and £50 for each public order offence. The court said he would have received a conditional discharge for the public order offences had it not been for the hate crime element demonstrated in both offences.
At Swindon Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker after he kicked a police officer whist being arrested for another offence. The assault was further aggravated by the fact that he also used homophobic language towards the officer. At court he was told to pay £350 in compensation to the victim, a fine that was increased by £100 to reflect the seriousness of the homophobic language he used.
In another case at Swindon Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to a public order offence after he used homophobic language towards a police officer whilst in custody. The court ordered him to pay £100 to the victim in the case, which was double what it would have been had it not involved a homophobic hate crime.