Former MP spared jail for making indecent image of a child

Former MP spared jail for making indecent image of a child thumbnail

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce has avoided jail after being found with a video of child abuse.

The former shadow Northern Ireland minister from Worlingworth, Suffolk, pleaded guilty in July to a charge of making an indecent photograph of a child.

He has today been sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court to eight months in prison suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Mr Justice Edis said during sentencing: ‘You have pleaded guilty to an offence which involves the possession of a category A film of a little less than a minute’s duration.

‘That film showed the penetrative sexual abuse of very young children.

‘That these acts of abuse happened is because there are people like you who want to watch these films.

‘If there was no market, those children wouldn’t be subjected to these very serious offences.’

Joyce, 59, was accused of making a video of the most serious category on his device between August 2013 and November 2018.

He was arrested in November 2018 and released under investigation before being summonsed to appear before magistrates in June.

The court was told Joyce claimed he accessed the video ‘via an email which he says was a spam email’.

But the judge added: ‘You have sought help from people well able to provide it and there’s evidence before the court that that has had an effect on helping you reduce, perhaps completely, your impulsive behaviour, and that’s happened over a significant period due to the delay in these proceedings.’

Joyce, who was MP for Falkirk in Scotland between 2000 and 2012, was immediately ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register after pleading guilty.

He quit the Labour Party to serve as an independent MP for Falkirk in 2012 before stepping down ahead of the 2015 general election.

The former shadow minister was also previously a British Army major, spending 21 years in the army from 1977.

After details of the charge emerged, a statement published on the politician’s website said: ‘I will make no comment from now until all legal processes are at a close. At that point, I will make a full statement.’

In 2012 Joyce was spared jail at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London after beating up four politicians while drunk in a House of Commons bar.

According to witnesses he said there were ‘too many f*****g Tories in here’, and yelled, ‘You can’t touch me, I am an MP,’ as he was dragged away to his cell.

After giving an early guilty plea to four charges of common assault he avoided time behind bars and was instead given a 12-month community punishment.

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