18 December 2014

Racially abusive man prosecuted and barred from city's taxis

A criminal anti-social behaviour order has been put on a Brighton and Hove man after a number of racially motivated crimes against taxi drivers in Brighton and Hove.

John Michael Hughes, 50, of Dean Gardens, Portslade, appeared at Brighton Magistrates Court on Wednesday, November 26, charged with racially aggravated crimes and causing intentional harassment, resisting arrest and criminal damage.

On May 24 this year in George Street, Hove, Hughes approached an Asian taxi driver and made racist comments to him, he then assaulted the driver. When the police attended he resisted arrest and caused damage to the police car he was initially placed in. He was given 14 weeks in prison on September 16 for the racially aggravated common assault and 12 weeks for racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress, which ran concurrently.

Hughes had already been convicted of being racist towards another taxi driver in August 2013 and for similar racist abuse towards two police officers, PC Vince Lam and SC Elliott Abdo, both within days of each other in August 2013.

Brighton & Hove City Council’s Partnership Community Safety Casework Team and Sussex Police’s Safe in the City Unit worked together to secure the anti-social behaviour order against Hughes based on the offences he had committed. The order was obtained under the Crime & Disorder Act 1998.

The terms of the order stop him from using or encouraging others to use racist or abusive language in any public place in Brighton and Hove and stop him travelling in any licensed taxi vehicle within the city.

Sgt David Palmer, Brighton and Hove Safe in the City Team, said: “The order on Hughes sends a strong message that racist behaviour will not be tolerated anywhere in this city. Hughes' behaviour and language is totally unacceptable and always completely unprovoked.

"This is a great example of partner organisations in the city working together to deter an offender who has caused harm in our communities.”

Cllr Jason Kitcat, Chair of the Community Safety Forum, said

“No-one should suffer from racial abuse or physical assault including people like taxi drivers and those working in the night time economy.  This case shows that we will work closely with our city partners to stop offenders in Brighton & Hove ruining people’s lives.

“We will make use of the latest powers available to us to tackle anti-social behaviour and hate incidents which are specifically designed to tackle persistently anti-social individuals and those persons involved in criminal activity.

”If anyone experiences anti-social behaviour we would urge them to make contact with our community safety team or the Police.”

Anyone experiencing antisocial behaviour should contact the community safety team on 01273 292735 or email communitysafety.casework@brighton-hove.gov.uk or report to the police on 999 in emergency or 101 if it’s not an emergency.