In January 2023, 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”.
We’ve picked out a selection of the hate crime cases we prosecuted in January. All the defendants pleaded guilty which meant that the case didn’t have to go to trial and victims and witnesses did not need to attend court to give evidence.
In fact, in most hate crime cases prosecuted by CPS Wessex, defendants enter guilty pleas.
All defendants received an increased sentence to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime they had committed.
At Southampton Magistrates’ Court this month, a woman pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and a public order offence after she shouted homophobic abuse and spat at a member of bar staff. She also pushed a second member of staff. She was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days (RAR), and was fined £120. The court said that her fine was increased by £40 to reflect the seriousness of the homophobic language she used. In addition, the defendant in this case had to pay each victim £200 and £100 respectively.
In another case at Southampton Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to a public order offence after he used homophobic language towards a police officer whilst he was being arrested on another matter. At court, the magistrates said that because this was a hate crime case, they would increase the value of his fine from a band C to a band D under the Sentencing Guidelines. He was ordered to pay £200.
In similar circumstances, a man used racial and homophobic abuse towards police officers that were arresting him on another matter. At Southampton Magistrates’ Court, he pleaded guilty to a public order offence and was sentenced to a 12-month community order. As part of the community order, he was ordered to undertake 70 hours unpaid work, uplifted from 50 hours to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime. He also had to complete 20 RAR days.
A man was fined £833 at Southampton Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay £200 in compensation to the victim after he pleaded guilty to a public order offence. Whilst in policy custody, he directed homophobic abuse at a Detention Officer. The court announced that his fine was increased to reflect the seriousness of the homophobic language he used.
At Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to three public order offences that all had a hate crime element. He abused local park users with language that demonstrated hostility towards people with a disability. When he was arrested, he also racially abused one of the police officers. This offender was sentenced to 34 weeks’ imprisonment, which the court announced included an extra seven weeks to reflect the hate crime element of each offence.
In a case heard at Swindon Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to sending an offensive communication after he sent a message to someone using language that demonstrated hostility towards people with learning disabilities. He was sentenced to an 18-month community order with a requirement to undertake 20 RAR days, 30 building better relationships sessions, and 120 hours unpaid work. The court announced that he would have received 100 hours unpaid work, but they increased it by an extra 20 hours to reflect the seriousness of the hate crime.
At Poole Magistrates’ Court this month, there was a case that involved two defendants charged with shoplifting. In addition, one defendant had racially abused someone, and the other used language that demonstrated hostility towards people with disabilities. At sentence, both received fines that were uplifted by £20 which the court said was to reflect the severity of the hate crimes they committed.
At Swindon Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence after he racially abused a police officer. He was fined £750, which the court said would have been £500 if it hadn’t been for the racist language he used.
In another case at Swindon Magistrates’ Court, a man pleaded guilty to affray and racially aggravated assault after he was arrested for attacking his victim. He was sentenced to 38 weeks’ imprisonment, which included an extra four weeks to reflect the hate crime element of the assault. The court decided to suspend his term of imprisonment and ordered that he had to complete 20 RAR days and 150 hours unpaid work as well.