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I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with the.
Do you know what offence you have been charged with. racially abusiv words can lead tobdiffere
Different offences being charged. Your charge sheet should say which section of which act you have been charged under. If you can tell me this I will be able to give you a more useful answer.
I racially/religiously words contrary to ses
1 racially / religiously words spoken with intent to causing another person harrasment alarm or distress under section 28 of crime & disorder act 1998 and abusive words public order act 1986
Thankyou for that. I am on my way to court at the moment but will answer later this morning. I hope that is OK.
Section 28 is the section of the Crime and Disorder Act that defines racial aggravation it doesn’t help me with which offence you have been charged with that is alleged to be racially aggravated. However, as you use the phrase words with intent to cause another person harassment alarm or distress that you have been charged under SEction 4A of the Public Order Act rather than s5. If there is a second offence please let me know. Sometimes the way charges for racially aggravated offences are drafted it can look like there are 2 offences when really only one has been charged. It may be that you have been charged with the non racially aggravated version of the offence as well. In any event the court can you find you guilty of the non-aggravated offence and not guilty of the aggravated charge even if the non-aggravated offence isn’t charged.
In order to proceed with the prosecution the CPS will have decided that there is a realistic prospect of conviction ( the evidence test) and that it is in the public interest to proceed. It sounds like it is probably your word against the other person involved’s word plus whatever is shown on the CCTV ( with no sound). I am afraid that in reality the CPS rarely use their discretion not to proceed in cases of what they consider to be “hate crime”. This is the case even if you have no previous involvement with the police or courts.
You should follow the link below which will take you to the Magistrates Court Sentencing guideline for this offence.
Racially aggravated offences under S4A of the Public Order Act can be tried in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. Ordinarily the Magistrates Court will say that it is suitable for them to deal with. If they do yo will still have the right to insist on jury trial in the Crown Court. The maximum sentence is 2 years imprisonment (in the Crown Court) but as you will see from the guidelines it is only the more serious examples of this offence that will lead to a custodial sentence. (targetting, action by groups, pre-planning, weapons being produced etc). I assume none of this applies to your case.
The guideline applies to a person of good character (like you) fund guilty after trial. It is likely that you would be sentenced to a community order (typically supervision by probation + unpaid work) if you were found guilty.
Obviously you have to be either found guilty or plead guilty before you can be sentenced. You will be sentenced more leniently if you plead guilty.
I see that you intend to defend the case and that you have a solicitor. You need to talk to him about all this. He has a duty to advise you on sentence and can advise on the rules the CPS apply to their charging decisions.
I hope this answer is helpful but if you have any follow up questions please ask.