In The South

Former Welsh rugby captain victim of hate crime

Besi Besemar November 19, 2018

Former Welsh rugby captain, Gareth Thomas was the victim of a homophobic attack in Cardiff city centre on Saturday night, November 17.

Gareth Thomas
Gareth Thomas

THOMAS suffered facial injuries following an attack by a 16-year-old in The Hayes area of the city at around 9pm following Wales’ 74 – 24 win over Tonga earlier in the day.

He chose to have the incident resolved using Restorative Justice. In a video he shared on social media where he appeared visibly shaken, he said he wanted to spread a “positive message” after being exposed to the hate crime due to his sexuality.

He said: “I want to say thank you to the police who were involved and have allowed me to do Restorative Justice with the people who did this because I thought they could learn more this way than any other way.”

South Wales Police has confirmed that a local 16-year-old boy has been dealt with “by way of restorative justice” after the incident.

Police said the teen admitted assault and was apologetic for his actions, while Restorative Justice was administered at the request of Mr Thomas.

Restorative Justice brings those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm together, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to enter a dialogue.

In a statement, South Wales Police said: “We are aware that a video has been posted on social media by former rugby international Gareth Thomas in relation to a hate crime which happened on The Hayes in Cardiff city centre on Friday November 16.

“We can confirm a local 16-year-old boy was dealt with by way of Restorative Justice following the incident at around 9pm.

“Restorative justice was at the request of Mr Thomas and accepted by the teenager who admitted assault and was apologetic for his actions.

“Restorative justice is about putting victim needs at the centre of the criminal justice system, finding positive solutions to crime and encouraging young people to be accountable for the consequences of their actions.

“A hate crime is any crime motivated by hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

“Hate crime has no place in society and has always been a priority for South Wales Police.

Ben Owen
Ben Owen

Speaking about the attack, Ben Owen, International Gay Rugby Chair added: “To us Gareth is a hero, one of the few brave enough in men’s rugby to stand up and be open about who he is. 

“But it shouldn’t be that way, it shouldn’t take bravery to be who you are or to go out for a few pints to celebrate your team winning.

“Hate crimes have no place in 21st century Britain and have no place in our sport, on or off the pitch. 

“Luckily the actions of these sick few are not representative of the many in the rugby community.

“International Gay Rugby will continue to work at a grassroots level, with national unions and with World Rugby to make sure rugby remains a sport for all – a sport that says no the intolerance and bigotry that was seen in Cardiff on Saturday night.”

If you are a victim or a witness of hate crime, report it directly to South Wales Police : Heddlu De Cymru South Wales Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.