Three thugs who carried out vicious attacks on young disabled men have avoided being sentenced for hate crime for the second time, raising fresh questions about the criminal justice system’s commitment to addressing targeted offences.One prominent disabled campaigner said the case showed the treatment of disability hate crime by the criminal justice system was “a joke” and a “toothless weapon”.Last week, Ben Dean, Keian Heap and Jack Clark, all from Bury, were convicted by a court of offences relating to a “merciless, sadistic and bloodthirsty attack” last October on a young man with bipolar disorder.The trio had already been convicted of a separate attack on a young man with Asperger’s syndrome in a Bury park, in 2013.Neither of the attacks appears to have been treated by the courts as a disability hate crime, which would have seen the three young men handed stricter sentences.They are just the latest in a long line of violent, targeted crimes carried out against disabled people, which have not been treated as hate crimes by judges and magistrates, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police forces.In the latest attack, on 4 October last year, Dean and Clark had shouted disablist abuse outside the home of Kieran Clark – calling him a “mong” – and threw stones at his windows and banged on his door, until he came out to confront them in a bid to protect his home and pregnant girlfriend.Following an initial scuffle in a nearby field, Kieran Clark returned home, but the gang persuaded him to follow them back out to the same patch of land.They then hit him with a fence post, punched him, stamped on his head, and repeatedly stabbed him, in a 10-minute attack, during which he thought he was going to die.Two days earlier, on 2 October, also in the early hours of the morning, members of the gang had again hurled disablist abuse at Kieran Clark – calling him a “muppet” and “schizo” – and threw stones at his window. The court heard that they had a history of chasing and antagonising him.Dean, of New Cateaton Street, Bury, and Jack Clark, of Walnut Avenue, Bury, both 15, admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and were ordered to serve five years juvenile detention, while Heap, 19, of Walmersley Road, Bury, admitted violent disorder and was jailed for three years.All three defendants had a previous conviction for assaulting a young man with autism in a Bury park in 2012.The judge told the trio that they had “targeted” Kieran Clark, and added: “There is something about people with learning difficulties that you three take a serious exception to.”And he said it was “plain that you have no compassion for others who are different from you and those you perceive as inferior, even though they are not”.But despite the judge’s comments, he does not appear to have increased their sentences using the disability hate crime provisions contained in section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act.Sources suggest that the judge was invited to apply section 146, and agreed to do so, while the defence barrister declined to contest the suggestion that it had been a hate crime.But despite the judge indicating that the offences would be treated as hate crimes, he appears to have failed to increase their sentences.There was further confusion among the criminal justice agencies when a spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the attack on Kieran Clark was initially investigated as a potential hate crime, but that officers had decided later that it was not hate-related.A police spokesman insisted that investigating hate crime was “a priority for GMP and we have strict policies in place to investigate incidents that occur and provide support to vulnerable victims”, while the investigation “was carried out thoroughly in line with GMP’s hate crime policy”.Stephen Brookes (pictured), a coordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, said he was “deeply concerned” with the way the criminal justice system was dealing with section 146.He said: “It is a facility that would make people think twice about hostility towards a disabled person, but section 146 is just not being used [and so that is not happening].“It has become a joke, almost, a dusty file on the back shelf. It is being missed either by the police, the CPS or the judiciary – each one is failing to grasp the nettle.“Until people work together, it is a toothless weapon.“The facility is there but nobody either is using it or they are using it inappropriately. The message that comes out is that it really doesn’t matter.”He added: “I think the judiciary are totally and utterly inept on section 146 at the moment.“Somehow, we have to get to the judiciary for training, but they are an elite group who say they do not need training.”Kate Green, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, said there were still “too many reports of courts, the CPS and the police failing to identify and treat disability hate crime appropriately”.She said: “Labour has committed to a new specific offence of disability hate crime. We will also make changes to the criminal records framework, so hate crimes are clearly marked on the criminal records of perpetrators.“We will produce new guidance from the Sentencing Council to ensure the appropriate use of aggravated sentencing for hate crimes, particularly for repeat offenders, and review police and CPS guidance to ensure hate crimes on social media are adequately covered.“We also need to ensure that those working in the criminal justice system receive proper training and that monitoring systems work effectively.”
LANCE Hohaia believes Saints have a great chance of taking home the World Club Challenge if they harness the advantage of Langtree Park.Tickets are now on General Sale for the big match against South Sydney Rabbitohs which kicks off at 7pm on Sunday February 22.And the former New Zealand Warrior and World Cup winner says every fan counts if Saints are to lift their third Challenge crown.“The Bunnies are definitely a team that have improved in last three to four years,” he said. “They have always been talented but have probably been a little bit inconsistent over the years.“They have found that consistency now with their coaching structure and the players they have. They play behind a big forward pack and that helps how they play the game… then they have some of the best players in the world too like Greg Inglis.“They will be a tough side to beat but we have the advantage. They have to come over here to play at Langtree Park and we have to use that to our advantage and not take a backward step.“I know if we play our best on the day then we give ourselves a great challenge of becoming World Club Champions.”He continued: “It will be a great spectacle and we are taking it very seriously. The chance to be World Club Champions is prestigious and we are very much looking forward to it.”Tickets are on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.
Wins over Hull and Catalans have pulled his side to within three points of their opponents – and that makes the match all the more important with the Super 8s set to begin in two weeks.“We’ve had two testing games and now have another one coming up,” he said. “It was important we won the last two and now we are in a position to make some inroads.“We have to continue doing that and we have to play well on Sunday.“Wakefield are a tough team to face on their home ground. They have a big pack that offloads, fast wingers and two smart half backs. There is a reason why they are sitting where they are.“We will have to play well to come away with the win.”Holbrook expects Kyle Amor to come back into the reckoning after he missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury whilst Matty Smith is continuing to progress.He continued: “We had some good news on Matty; luckily it (his eye) has improved dramatically which is great because up until last week we weren’t too sure. Within a week it has improved a lot and he has started training again too.“Kyle should be ok too. The pack has been going well. Luke Thompson and Louie (McCarthy-Scarsbrook) have both been playing fantastic. Big Al has been playing well too and it was good to see all three scoring tries at the weekend.”Tickets for Sunday’s game at Wakefield remain on sale from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, by calling 01744 455 052 or online.
As part of our Seat of the Day feature, we will be highlighting some incredible ‘specs’ that are available to reserve for the 2018 season.Today we have selected Block North E, Row T, Seat 135 which is in the highly sought-after middle Gold section of the Totally Wicked North Stand, very close to the half way line.The seat offers incredible views of the action – check out the images below taken from the seat itself.We also have available seats either side of this one – T134 and T136 so a group of up to three people could reserve together.Check out the map below!Up to the Early Bird deadline, 30 November, this seat is priced at:£369 for adults£276 for Concessions aged 65+ or 19-21£200 for Youths aged 17-18and just £116 for juniors (aged 5-16)All under 5s are free with a paying adultIf you buy your Membership before November 30 you will save ££ on matchday prices.You’ll also secure a whole host of other benefits too.Your Membership allows you to watch all Saints Betfred Super League home games in 2018 … and a Junior Membership will get you in to all our away League games too!Membership Benefits:Membership Access CardYour ticket reserved for additional major home games (World Club Series/Challenge Cup)All your Betfred Super League and Super 8s home games included in one great Membership packagePriority match tickets for major games including finals*Exclusive Club news straight to your mobile or other device via emailExclusive local partner offers giving you even more value with your MembershipExclusive Membership only merchandise & stadium promotional offers sent directly to you via emailExclusive news including new signings, via SMS before general releaseExclusive invites to Member only events during 2018Bring a friend for just £5 to a 2018 home match of your choice (excludes Wigan home games)50% off your 2018 Magic Weekend ticketAccess to our Member feedback channels to engage with the Club and give us your views and opinionsDiscounted away travel via Club Travel Partner Hattons TravelAnd, you could be named our Ultimate Fan too!So what you waiting for? Click here for prices and how to buy.Be #saintsandproud
13 first team players, including the likes of Ben Barba, Luke Thompson and James Bentley, visited 12 Primary Schools and two Secondary Schools this afternoon.They posed for pictures, signed autographs and delivered special gifts from our Community Development Foundation.We visited Allanson Street, Broad Oak, Carr Mill, Holy Cross, Holy Spirit, Merton Bank, Parish Church, Queens Park, Rivington Road, Robins Lane, St Augustine’s High School, St Cuthbert’s High School, St Marys & St Thomas, St Peter & Paul and St Theresa’s.As a thank you, the Foundation donated a family ticket for the Castleford match to every school they have worked with, alongside the Sky Try programme, to use as a raffle prize or reward.They also entered the school in a special raffle to win a framed signed shirt amongst other prizes.We will continue our Santa Dash over the next three weeks as we aim to visit every primary school in the town!