Prosecutors from CPS South East will be at this year’s Brighton and Hove Pride event to encourage more reporting of hate crime from the LGBT+ communities.
THE Crown Prosecution Service will have a stall in the community marketplace on Saturday, August 4 and will be able to explain what hate crime is and how seriously it is taken by the criminal justice system.
Defendants who commit hate crimes motivated by prejudice are handed stiffer sentences called “uplifts” and recent hate crimes dealt with by the CPS in Sussex include:
♦ A homophobic attack on a man in a Brighton street, which knocked him out and left him needing surgery for a fractured jaw. His attacker was sentenced to 18 months in prison for this attack and a further year for another assault, where he also used homophobic language. Had it not been for the homophobic nature of the attacks, the prison sentence would only have been two years. Each assault was given a three-month “uplift”, where defendants are handed stiffer sentences, because they have committed a hate crime motivated by prejudice.
♦ An incident at Gatwick Airport, where homophobic comments were yelled at a member of staff before the defendant was prevented from boarding a plane due to his behaviour. The man responsible was ordered to serve an additional 20 hours of community serve due to the nature of his comments on top of the 100 he originally received.
♦ A man, who had his jail sentence increased by 50% from four to six weeks, after yelling homophobic comments at two paramedics trying to treat him in Hove, who felt they were targeted because of their sexuality.
♦ A man, who received an increased fine, after yelling homophobic abuse at a pub in Brighton prior to the Brighton and Hove Albion game against Coventry in February. He was given a three-year football banning order.
Paul Stimson, from the CPS, said: “We want to encourage more reporting of hate crimes from the LGBT+ community.
“No-one should have to tolerate attacks and abuse like this on their sexuality and it’s something the whole of the criminal justice system takes seriously, with increased sentences for those responsible.
“Everyone has a role to play in this. If you know someone who is being targeted as a result of their sexual orientation, or their race, religion or disability, we want to encourage those people to come forward and report it.
“The Crown Prosecution Service actively prosecutes all these types of hate crime and we will be at Brighton and Hove Pride to show our support for the LGBT+ community in the South East.”
Visitors to the CPS stall at Pride will also have the opportunity to complete anonymous surveys about their experiences of hate crime and whether or not they reported them. The CPS will be looking at the responses to see what can be learnt from people’s experiences.