That someone should do bird because they’ve beaten up someone for being Muslim, or gay, or perhaps a darkie, seems reasonable enough. But what is it that should lead to the prison time? The beating administered or the motive for its delivery? The modern day says that the motive matters, the past that it’s the fists. The past had this right here.
A 16-year-old schoolboy has been given a police caution after he was caught on mobile phone footage attacking a 15-year-old Syrian refugee at a school. West Yorkshire Police said it had investigated whether a racially aggravated assault had taken place at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, in October last year. On Thursday, the force said in statement: “The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) has concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to charge the suspect with a racially aggravated assault and he was given a caution for a section 39 assault.”
The Syrian lad was beaten up. The punishment for beating up the Syrian lad should be the same – that’s my claim at least – whether he was beaten for being Syrian, 15, or a lad. But only one of those is a protected characteristic, that race aspect, so only one of the reasons would lead to a great punishment.
Better, by far, to abandon the entire concept of aggravation by these motives and protected characteristics. Why they were criminally attacked makes no difference, or shouldn’t, to the penalty faced by the attacker.