Presentation JPB

Crown Prosecution Service –
Response to Hate Crime
James Burnham, District Crown Prosecutor
Hate Crime??
• Many victims do not feel hated by the
offender and some feel that the use of
the phrase about their case only makes
them feel worse about the incident as it
imports a further level of animosity
towards them that they did not feel at
the time of the incident
• The word ‘hatred’ does not appear in
any recent or frequently used
Various Types of Hate Crime
•Trans Gender
What do we have to prove?
• The offence was motivated by hostility
to the victim because of their race,
religion, sexual orientation, change of
gender or disability, or
• The offender demonstrated hostility to
the victim based on their race, religion,
sexual orientation, change of gender or
disability or the offender’s perception of
those characteristics.
• hostility falls well short of hatred. It is
not defined in the legislation but the
dictionary definition would include:
• ill-will, ill-feeling, spite, contempt,
prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism,
resentment, and dislike.
Hostility and Vulnerability –
the distinction.
• A simple example of the distinction would be where a victim,
who is a wheel chair user, has her handbag stolen which had
been hanging on the back of her chair. This case is unlikely to
be motivated by hostility towards the disability, but the
disability has made the victim more vulnerable to this sort of
• the type of offence sometimes known as ‘mate crime’ where a
disabled person is befriended by the offender because they are
an easy target for offences such as theft or fraud is unlikely to
be a crime where hostility to a disabled person can be proved.
• However, in both these examples the court will take into
account the vulnerability of the victim when considering
sentence in any event.
Recording / Reporting
• The ACPO definition is:
• any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other
person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a
personal characteristic
• this does not fit in with what we have to prove, but in all these cases
the police should flag the case as a ‘hate crime’ and we will flag the
case on our system in the same way.
• In 2011 to 2012, there were 43,748 crimes recorded by police as
hate crimes of these:
• race - 82%
• sexual orientation - 10%
• religion - 4%
• disability - 4%
• transgender identity - 1%.
Wessex Caseload 2013
• 68 homophobic and transphobic cases
• (1127 cases in England and Wales)
• 18 disability hate crime cases
• (573 cases in England and Wales)
• In the same period in Wessex we
prosecuted 520 racial and religiously
aggravated cases.
Special measures
• A range of special measures are available to ensure that
victims can give ‘best evidence’.
• The appointment of an intermediary
• Aids to communication
• The court can order that the public are excluded from the
court room
• Or it can prohibit publication of anything leading to
identification of the victim’s name or address under Section 46
of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.
• Screens
• video links
On line Crime
• offences committed using social network sites such as Facebook and
twitter are now covered by a CPS policy document
• Communications sent via social media are capable of amounting to
criminal offences and prosecutors should distinguish between:
• 1 Communications which may constitute credible threats of violence to
the person or damage to property or
• 2 Communications which specifically target an individual or individuals
and which may constitute harassment or stalking within the meaning of
the Protection from Harassment Act 1997
• 3 Communications which may amount to a breach of a court order.
• 4 Communications which do not fall into any of the categories above and
fall to be considered separately (see below): i.e. those which may be
considered grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false which will be
subject to a high threshold and in many cases a prosecution is unlikely
to be in the public interest.

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