Two British teenagers who finished a drinking binge at a pub and then set out to harass gay men at Ockham Common, a nearby cruising area, were sentenced just before Christmas, sparking outrage from local gay organizations.
Gary Smith, 19, and Spencer Payne, 18, were given suspended sentences with community service orders as their punishment for threatening gay men with a sword and a rifle:
“In court Rupert Hallowes, prosecuting, said the teenagers had been drinking at the Hand and Spear pub in Weybridge on May 1, 2006 before driving to the common. He said Smith walked over to a car and urinated in front of it while taunting a number of men standing next to their vehicles. As the pair got more aggressive the men got into their cars to leave. Smith went to the boot of his car and pulled out what a witness believed was a lethal 80cm long Samurai sword. Payne grabbed a rifle from the boot and aimed at cars as they drove off.”
Said Gino Meriano, chairman of the charity Gay Surrey: “It’s shocking. If they wanted to send out a message that using a fake firearm and Samurai sword to target gay people is a very serious crime then this sentence isn’t anywhere near strong enough.These people are specifically going to the area with the intention of hurting gay people.”
The judge apparently had the same perspective as perpetrator Smith, who commented to one of the officers on the night of his arrest: “All this for a bunch of queers.”
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