Hate Crime

The term hate crime describes a range of criminal behaviour; where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility towards the victim’s personal characteristics: race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.  Hate crime can include intimidation, robbery, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, damage to property, and verbal abuse.

Not all hate crimes are separate offences. Before something is recorded as a crime, is it flagged as a hate incident. All reports are firstly recorded as incidents, and are not necessarily crimes.

According to Hate Crime England and Wales Government published statistics, one in six hate crime offences result in being charged, or being summonsed to appear in court.  However, the Crown Prosecution Service is leading those convicted to harsher sentences. The CPS can apply for an uplift, to increase and extend the sentence. In 2016/2017, more than half of hate crimes successfully prosecuted by the CPS involved an uplift.

Specific offences under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 carry higher maximum penalties than the basic offence equivalents. Some also become either way offences in the aggravated form.

The law imposes a duty on criminal courts when sentencing an offender, to treat more seriously any offence which can be shown to be aggravated by hostility based on disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity under (Section 146 Criminal Justice Act 2003). 

Racial or religious aggravation makes any offence more serious; the court has a duty to take personal characteristics into account when sentencing a defendant.

After hearing relevant evidence, the court will proceed to sentence depending on whether the aggravating feature has been proved. If the feature of hostility has been found proven, the court will indicate the sentence for the basic sentence and will increase the offence accordingly.

The court first decides on the appropriate sentence without the element of racial or religious aggravation, including any other aggravating or mitigating features. The sentence then will be enhanced to take account of relevant hostility. If the offence merits custody, that sentence would be enhanced by an appropriate amount to reflect the degree of the hostility. The judge publicly states what the appropriate sentence would have been without the relevant aggravating feature.

Contact Harrison Bundey

Telephone: 0113 200 7400

Emergency 24 hour arrest helpline: 0113 399 6181 

E-mail: mail@harrisonbundey.co.uk

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