Monday, November 06, 2006

Racial Aggravation

If you have a look at the Bench Book you will see that offences such as harassment and common assault move a step up-tariff if they are racially aggravated. I have no problem with that, but occasionally those responsible for charging take things just a little far. The latest was a contretemps involving a railway ticket collector whose ancestors came from the far side of Offa's Dyke, and who was called a 'Taff wanker'. The defendant was quite rightly charged with a Section 5 Public Order offence, but with the Racially Aggravated version. Strictly speaking that was correct, but compared with some of the nasty racist stuff that we have heard the words were pretty mild.
Sensitive souls would be well advised to stay clear of the forthcoming Rugby internationals, where the Taffs and the Micks and the Jocks will do battle with England, and the crowd may occasionally lapse into the sort of comments that would give some prosecutors a fit of the vapours.

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