In some more and definitely good news, in the Scottish “Sex-by-deception” case I’ve been following, it’s now been reported that all charges have been dropped.
For those not familiar with the story, a woman was being prosecuted for “deceiving” other women into having sex by pretending to be a man, something that could have quite worrying consequences for any Trans folk in Scotland who are not out. (And being out to just your partner might not be enough, if you were not out generally and they later claimed otherwise) It’s not been reported why the charges have been dropped, but I would hope it is down to a point of law, as in “You can’t prosecute someone for this” rather than insufficient evidence.
Unfortunately, Brooks did have to spend some time on remand in Cornton Vale Prison prior to the charges being dropped.
There’s little new information on the sex-by-deception case I’ve been following, although it was in court again yesterday. Brooks has asked for more time according to various news sources (Daily Record) and the next hearing will be on the 8th March when a date for trial should be set. The print edition of the Metro suggests a plea of Not Guilty was also entered, but the story does not appear to be online.
Some reports (STV) indicate that the reason for the request for more time is for DNA/handwriting reports and an identity parade. (How a parade will work when Brooks’s photo is all over the press I don’t know) This is worrying because it would perhaps suggest that the lawyers believe that the whole “deception” over gender thing is really an issue and they’re fighting this on the grounds of mistaken identity.
There’s also an interesting comment thread on my previous post from someone who knows about Scottish Law who suggests that although the law is vague, not telling someone that might affect their consent would be illegal.
Brooks is still “remanded in custody”, i.e. in prison, so even if not found guilty has already suffered because of this. It’s starting to feel more and more like if you’re stealth and Trans, you’d better not be having sex in Scotland.
The Scottish “Obtaining sex by deception” case with Samantha Brooks that I reported on last year is back in the news again, as the defendant was in court on Friday. Although it’s been reported in the usual gay press, their reports are third-hand with the primary sources appearing to be The Daily Record and The Scotsman as their stories were published first and give more detail not mentioned by other outlets.
To summarise, there is no mention of any transgender angle to the case in the reporting and I’m sure given there appear to be at least two independent sources, one of them would have mentioned it had there been. That does not mean however it could not have worrying implications for trans people should Brooks be found guilty. The charge is still unclear, with mentions in articles of “obtaining sexual contact by fraud” but as before, a search of relevant case law and legislation turned up nothing.
There was discussion in 2006 about updating Scottish law to include a better definition of consent, which would have included an identity-related offence that would have excluded this sort of thing but this did not go through. If “consent” really is undefined in Scotland, it appears case law may be about to create something very unfortunate for many Trans people.
Friday’s hearing was just to ender a plea and there is another hearing on the 9th February, but it is not clear what that hearing is in relation to. I believe it may be possible to obtain a copy of publicly available court papers in such cases and time permitting I shall attempt this.
With obvious parallels to the case in the Middle East just a few weeks ago, a rather worrying news story has appeared on BBC News. The headline, “Woman faces sex by fraud charges“, doesn’t sound too bad but the first paragraph is somewhat more chilling for anyone Trans…
A 25-year-old woman has appeared in court accused of tricking two women into sexual contact – by pretending to be a man.
Firstly, the obvious: a “woman pretending to be a man” could well be a transman but however they identify, it’s likely they’re on the Trans spectrum somewhere.
Secondly, even after an hour of searching through statute and case law, I can’t figure out what the person accused of this offence is actually guilty of. The case is in Scotland which has different laws from England and Wales and there is a history of “Rape by Deception” in case law, but nothing I can find written down. (If it was England or Wales, it would probably be Section 36 if the other party had mental health troubles) The article says the other people involved “cannot be named for legal reasons”, which would suggest something unusual.
It may be that it’s been misreported by the BBC and the “deception” isn’t relevant to the actual offence but whatever the specifics, this is quite worrying.