Man used homophobic slur and spat at victim ‘to get a police cell for the night’, court hears
A man who used a homophobic slur and spat at another man has claimed that he only did so to get himself arrested.
Ben Mark Young, 24, of Preston New Road in Blackburn, has pleaded guilty to assault but denied that it was a homophobic hate crime, This Is Lancashire reports.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has given much guidance on the issue of homophobic and transphobic hate crime.
“It is essential that the CPS identifies all those cases that might properly be prosecuted as homophobic, biphobic or transphobic crimes,” the service states.
“It is best practice to flag as soon as possible in order to ensure the correct support is made available to the victim and facilitate a proactive investigation of the evidence.”
A definition used by the CPS and agreed with the National Police for such crimes or incidents is “any incident/criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation”.
Under the section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, there is a duty on courts to increase the sentence for any offence that involves hostility based on sexual orientation or presumed sexual orientation.
More recently, the CPS has said that biphobic hate crimes should be treated differently to anti-gay-and anti-trans hate crime.
The Blackburn altercation occurred at a hospital when the victim was with police officers due to another incident.
“The defendant involved himself and made a homophobic comment before spitting at the aggrieved,” said prosecutor Catherine Allan at the Blackburn Magistrates Court hearing.
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She added that Young had been in breach of a conditional discharge for criminal damage at the time of the incident, a crime he also claimed he had committed in order to be arrested.
Defender Nick Dearing said of his clients: “He is homeless and with his record it is difficult for him to get stable accommodation.
“He accepts calling the victim a name and spitting at him but it was not a homophobic crime. He simply saw an opportunity to get himself arrested.”
He added that Young “had no idea” about the sexuality of the victim.
The case has been adjourned until a later hearing.