CPS Wessex: Successful Hate Crime Cases November 2023
We regularly share examples of recently prosecuted hate cases, where defendants have been convicted of a hate crime and received an increased sentence at one of our Wessex courts.
Hate crime is a priority in Wessex; we’re working closely with local communities to help them understand what a hate crime is and the support available to victims of hate crime, through the special measures scheme, to reduce some of the stresses associated with coming to court, so that they are able to give their best evidence.
If you would like to receive regular updates on our work with the local community, you can sign up to our monthly CPS Wessex newsletter here.
This month’s cases
Prosecutors from CPS Wessex routinely secure 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”.
We’ve picked out a selection of the hate crime cases we’ve prosecuted recently to demonstrate how seriously we take such cases, ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice and receive increased penalties.
In most hate crime cases prosecuted by CPS Wessex, defendants enter guilty pleas. This means that the case didn’t have to go to trial and victims and witnesses did not need to attend court to give evidence.
All defendants in our case studies below received an increased sentence to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime they had committed.
At Southampton Magistrates Court two men recently denied shouting words at two victims that demonstrated hostility towards people with a disability. Both men were found guilty after a full trial. The first defendant was ordered to complete a 12-month community order, as well as 12 days of Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, which the court said would have been 8 days, but was increased to 12 days, because the defendant had committed a hate crime. He was ordered to pay £400 compensation to each victim, and a restraining order was put in place for 2 years, preventing him from having further contact with the victims.
The second defendant was already in custody for another matter, and was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, which the court decided to uplift from 8 weeks to reflect the fact he had committed a disability hate crime. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £400 to both victims and made subject of a restraining order not to contact the victims for 2 years.
At Portsmouth Magistrates Court, a man was found guilty of two public order offences; in one of the offences, he racially abused the victim. The court sentenced the man to 12 weeks in prison for the racist abuse, which they said was increased from a non-custodial sentence to reflect the severity of the hate crime. The custodial sentence was suspended for 12 months, and the man was also ordered to pay £400 in compensation to the victim, to complete 25 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and a Thinking Skills Programme.
In another case recently tried at Southampton Magistrates Court, a man pleaded guilty to two public order offences committed against two police officers where he admitted shouting homophobic language and that demonstrated a hostility towards people with a disability. He also pleaded guilty to obstructing the officers in their duty and assaulting them.
The court imposed a suspended custodial sentence of 26 weeks for obstructing and assaulting the officers. They fined the man £150 for the homophobic language used towards the first officer, which was increased from £100. The court further sentenced the man to 8 weeks in prison for the disability hate crime committed against the second officer, which they increased from 5 weeks because of the language used. The custodial sentences were to be served concurrently. He was also ordered to complete 20 days of Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and ordered to pay £50 in compensation to each officer.
In a case heard at Swindon Magistrates Court in October, a man pleaded not guilty to racially abusing a shop worker. Following a full trial, the man was found guilty of the racially aggravated public order offence. The court ordered him to pay a £200 fine, which they increased from £120 because the male used racist language towards the victim. He was also ordered to pay the victim £200 in compensation.
At Poole Magistrates Court, a man pleaded not guilty to racially and homophobically abusing a police officer, as he was being arrested for another offence. The courts ordered the man to pay a fine of £440, which was increased under the sentence uplift scheme from £220 because he had used racist and homophobic language towards the victim.
In another case heard at Poole Magistrates Court, a man pleaded guilty to damaging a motor vehicle and racially abusing a member of the public. The court sentenced the man to 16 weeks in prison for the racially aggravated public order offence, which they increased from 12 weeks because it was a hate crime. He was also sentenced to serve 16 weeks in prison for damaging the car, with both custodial sentences to be served concurrently. The sentence was suspended for 12 months.
At Salisbury Magistrates Court a woman pleaded guilty to racially aggravated assault against the victim who was working as a security guard. The woman was sentenced to complete an 18-month community order, with 200 hours of unpaid work which was increased from 150 hours because of the racial abuse. She was also ordered to pay £350 compensation to the victim.