CPS West Midlands: Hate crime cases prosecuted in May and June 2020
During May and June, CPS West Midlands Magistrates’ Court unit successfully prosecuted 124 hate crime cases. Among those targeted by the defendants were police officers, a bus driver, a taxi driver and a paramedic. Below are just a handful of the cases we prosecuted.
On 1 May 2020 at Kidderminster Magistrates' Court, William Stevens of Herefordshire was convicted of assaulting an emergency worker after he punched a paramedic to the face. At an earlier hearing on 7 April, he pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to a cell door with his crutch and racially abusing a detention officer who had asked him to stop. After the trial, Stevens was sentenced to 30 weeks' imprisonment and ordered to pay £250 compensation to the paramedic. His sentence was increased from a community order to reflect the hate crime aspect of the offence.
On seven occasions, Matthew Fletcher, of Birmingham, sent messages expressing extreme right-wing sentiments supporting the killing of Muslims and non-white people, and indicated he intended to kill people himself to a government website. During the first hearing at Birmingham Magistrates' Court on 4 May 2020, he pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 12 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 200 hours of community activity and work. The racist and religious nature of the offending was taken into account when he was sentenced.
On 17 April 2020, Rebecca Louise Harris, of Birmingham, grabbed a fellow resident by the throat at her hostel and then assaulted a passer-by who tried assist the victim. She also racially abused a police officer who attend, while repeatedly coughing and spitting around him. When taken to the police station, she made further racist comments to the detention officer. Harris pleaded guilty to all offences on 20 May at Birmingham Magistrates Court and was sentenced to 52 weeks' imprisonment. Her sentence had been increased from 40 weeks to 52 weeks to reflect the hate crime nature of the case.
On 2 June 2020 at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates' Court, James Leonard Craik, of Stoke-on-Trent pleaded guilty to eight counts including being drunk in charge a child, assault, criminal damage and racially abusing a taxi driver. The incident affected the taxi driver to such an extent that he now feels concerned for his safety while working. Craik was sentenced at the same court on 23 June to 19 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 weeks. The court informed him that his sentence was increased from a community penalty to reflect the racist nature of the incident.
Luke Antonio Malcolm of no fixed abode, racially abused a bus driver who asked him to leave the bus after he refused to pay his fare. At Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court on 2 June, he pleaded guilty to racially aggravated assault and burglary. He was sentenced on the same day to eight weeks' imprisonment for the racially aggravated assault and 12 weeks for the burglary. He was informed that the sentence had been increased due to the hate crime nature of the offence.
Thomas Edward Friend, of Leeds, shouted anti-Chinese comments at the victim including blaming the Chinese community for the COVID-19 pandemic. At Leeds Magistrates' Court on 4 June, he pleaded guilty and fined £100. He was also ordered to pay £50 compensation to the victim. The court informed him that his financial penalty had been increased to reflect the hate crime nature of the offence.
On 17 June 2020 at Kidderminster Magistrates Court, Thomas Davies of Droitwich, pleaded guilty to assaulting his neighbour by throwing a bowl of water over her and subjecting her to homophobic abuse. He received a custodial sentence due to the hate crime nature of the offence, and he was sentenced on the same day to four weeks' imprisonment. He was also given a restraining order for 12 months to protect the victim.