The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has published its annual statistical bulletin: ‘Cases Involving Hate Crime 2017/18’.
The bulletin is set out in two parts, reflecting the two distinct definitions applied in cases involving hate crime, as recorded by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the PPS. In Part One key statistics are presented in relation to cases involving hate crime submitted to the PPS by the PSNI, while in Part Two key statistics are presented in relation to cases considered by a Prosecutor to have involved hate crime which was ‘aggravated by hostility’.
The key findings include:
Part One: Cases Involving Hate Crime Submitted by the PSNI
- There has been a decline in the number of cases submitted to PPS by police. In 2017/18 335 files were received, compared to 386 in the previous year.
- The majority of files received fell into the category ‘violence against the person’ (62.4%). However the number of cases involving violent offences fell by just over a tenth (11.4%), from 236 in 2016/17 to 209 in 2017/18.
- Prosecutorial decisions were issued in respect of 425 persons, a decrease of 17.3% on 2016/17 (514).
- Ten of the thirteen defendants dealt with in the Crown Court were convicted, while the conviction rate in the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts was 67.4%.
Part Two: Cases Considered by a PPS Prosecutor to have Involved Hate Crime which was ‘Aggravated by Hostility’
- The PPS issued 279 prosecutorial decisions in 2017/18, over two-thirds (67.7%) of which were for prosecution (178) or diversion from the courts (11). This compared to the 347 prosecutorial decisions taken in 2016/17, of which 67.4% were for prosecution (208) or diversion from the courts (26).
- The majority of the 279 decisions in 2017/18 related to offences which were either aggravated on the basis of race (111) or religion (106). Thirty-nine decisions related to offences aggravated on the basis of sexual orientation, while five related to disability. Eighteen were recorded as having multiple motivations.
- All six defendants dealt with in the Crown Court in 2017/18 were convicted of at least one offence. Nearly seven-tenths (68.3%) of those dealt with in the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts were convicted, an increase on 2016/17 (65.9%).
- Of the total of 131 defendants convicted during 2017/18, 53 were recorded as having received an increased sentence where the judge accepted that the aggravating feature of their offence(s) had been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
The Bulletin can be found on the PPS website at: