British transsexual spared jail over safety fears

14th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

A transsexual convicted by a British court of downloading child pornography avoided prison after a judge ruled she would not be safe, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

"Frankly, you deserve to go to prison, but I can't bring myself to send you to prison, entirely because I think prison would be an appalling experience for you," Judge Lesley Newton was quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.

Laura Voyce, who is biologically a man but legally a woman and used to be called Luke, was found guilty on 14 counts of downloading indecent images of children, some of which were graded as the second most serious level of abuse.

Voyce, of Liverpool, was sentenced by the judge at Manchester Crown Court in northwest England to a nine-month jail term suspended for a year but will not be put behind bars unless she reoffends.

If she had been given a full jail term, she would have had to serve it in a men's prison.

"I do not see how you could be kept safe in a prison environment with the best will in the world on the part of those who run such establishments," Judge Newton was quoted as saying.

Voyce, who maintains her innocence, was ordered to perform 100 hours of unpaid work and to sign the sex offenders' register for five years, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

© 2010 AFP

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