Scottish man “first” to be convicted of transgender prejudice


Other than totally unnecessary use of the victims previous name, this story from the BBC about a bloke being prosecuted for a “breach of the peace” when he assaulted a trans woman seems, for once, reasonably written as it concentrates on the assault and perpetrator rather than the victim. I do wonder how the papers managed to find the previous name of the victim and I hope this wasn’t something that was mentioned in open court, but that’s likely a very misplaced hope.

Sadly, from past experience, I fear that tomorrow may result in more torment for the victim via the tabloid press and it’s even less responsible attitude to reporting.

The fine seems a little light, but I’m not familiar with Scottish law. (Why are all these cases Scottish? The Brooks case was too!) Given he was only convicted of a “breach of the peace”, it may be that assault could not be proven as I would have expected a community order of some description in such cases.

Interestingly, this version of the report from STV indicates that the increased fine was because of the trans bias and allowed “under a law passed in March 2010″. I can find no particular law, Scottish or UK-wide, and this isn’t covered under the Equality Act. Presumably it’s the same law that the BBC allude to in their first paragraph – “…the first person in Scotland to be convicted of transgender prejudice.”

Sadly, it remains the case that homophobically motivated crime in England and Wales can, under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, attract an increased sentence, but not transphobically motivated crime.

(I’d note that as a soldier he’ll be getting a further, likely more severe, slap on the wrists. You can’t be tried twice for the same crime, but you can get into trouble for bringing the army into disrepute. That would not have affected the judges sentencing however.)

  1. #1 by Jennie Kermode on 6 September 2011 - 16:37

    The law which applies in this situation is the Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009. This recognises, for the first time in Scots law, that an offence can be aggravated by an element of transphobia, homophobia or prejudice against disability. The definition of transgender that it uses is highly inclusive and is now considered to represent best practice at a European level.

    • #2 by Zoe O'Connell on 10 September 2011 - 16:47

      That’s very, very useful to know, thanks! I’m guessing they meant “came into force in March 2010″ rather than “passed in…”.

      I particularly like 8(b), which covers “any other gender identity that is not standard male or female gender identity.”

  2. #3 by Sophie Hamilton on 7 September 2011 - 00:30

    It looks like the BBC article doesn’t include the victim’s previous name any more!

    (I didn’t see the previous incarnation of the article, but I’m taking your word for it that it had her previous name in it.)

    • #4 by Zoe O'Connell on 10 September 2011 - 16:48

      Victory for Trans Media Watch I suspect – I know Jennie was raising it with them.

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