- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2017

An 80-year-old British woman has been convicted of a hate crime for using a “homophobic” slur against a gay man during a dispute over a parking, according to an Aug. 8 news release by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the authority which tries criminal matters in England and Wales.

Patricia Pavey’s run-in with the law stems from a dispute with a parking enforcement officer that escalated when a Lewes shopkeeper criticized the woman and Ms. Pavey angrily replied with what the CPS described as “homophobic abuse.”

“We all know that issues such as parking can be emotive subjects, but there is no place in our society for homophobic language to be used, whatever the situation is,” CPS official Gareth Morgan said, according to the news release. “It is completely unacceptable and that is why any form of hate crime is taken so seriously by the CPS, be it homophobic, transphobic, racist, religious or disability.”

Had things not escalated, Ms. Pavey would only had had to pay a £166 ($215.82) parking fine. But thanks to a guilty conviction in the charge of “using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress,” Ms. Pavey has been fined £250 ($325.03) plus a £30 ($39) “victim surcharge,” according to the CPS document.

Ms. Pavey additionally may not park outside the shopkeeper’s establishment for two years, CPS noted.

On its official website, CPS says “tackling hate crime” is a priority and defines the violation as “any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”

The Sussex Police Department, which has jurisdiction in the town of Lewes, has repeatedly encouraged Twitter followers to report hate crimes and also encourages folks to download a smartphone app, Self Evident, to make reporting convenient.

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