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Transgender sex offender appeals severity of sentence

Court Reporter

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Court Reporter

Transgender sex offender appeals severity of sentence

A transgender woman who sexually assaulted her step-son and threatened to break his arms and legs has appealed the severity of her six-year sentence.

The woman (32), who can't be named to protect the victim's identity, was convicted by a Circuit Criminal Court jury of ten counts of sexual assault contrary to section 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) Act 1990. She was convicted of one count of child cruelty. The offences occurred between September 2011 and September 2013.

On December 9, 2019  a judge sentenced the woman to six years and six months imprisonment with the final six months suspended.

Roderick O'Hanlon SC for the woman argued before the Court of Appeal on Friday that the sentencing judge did not have sufficient regard to the difficulties his client, as a transgender woman, would have in prison. She is being held in a women's prison. He also said the judge should have suspended a greater portion of the sentence to allow for rehabilitation.

The trial heard that the offender was male at birth but started to recognise an issue with gender identity around the time of the offences.

Before she transitioned to a female she began a relationship with the victim's mother and moved into the family home where she took the role of a "step-father". The son was four years old at that time and in his complaint he described being abused over a two-year period whenever his mother wasn't looking. He said he was regularly slapped and that the offender threatened to break his arms and legs. He described various instances of abuse including having his trousers pulled down and being told to lie on a bed while he was being abused.

The family's neighbours first raised the alert after witnessing the step-father shouting at the boy and threatening him. 

President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham, sitting with Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, reserved judgement in the sentence appeal.