Trans woman convicted of raping two women in Scotland jailed

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Politicians, campaigners and a UN special rapporteur have expressed serious concern over the detention of a trans woman in a women’s prison who was convicted of raping two women before making the transition.

Opponents of the Scottish government’s gender-recognition reforms – which the UK government has barred from seeking royal approval over “safety issues for women and children” – said the case justified their concerns about the lack of safeguards in the bill.

Isla Bryson, of Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape on Tuesday after a six-day trial in Glasgow high court.

Following the conviction, Bryson was detained in Cornton Vale women’s prison, where she appears to be in solitary confinement until her sentence in late February.

Bryson first appeared in court as Adam Graham in 2019, and both victims knew the attacker by that name.

The jury heard that Bryson raped two women after they met online, one in Clydebank in 2016 and one in Drumchapel, Glasgow in 2019. Prosecutors described Bryson as a “hunter” of defenseless women.

Scottish Conservative community safety spokesman Russell Findlay posed an urgent question in the Holyrood room Wednesday afternoon, saying it was “totally inappropriate, unacceptable and wrong” to place such an offender in an “affiliated” women’s prison. includes women who are victims of male violence, sexual violence and harassment”.

Findlay requested immediate publication of the Scottish Prison Service’s (SPS) long-awaited review of transgender prisoners, which Justice Minister Keith Brown has confirmed will be published “in the coming months”.

Brown also underlined that the gender recognition reform bill, which simplifies how trans people change their legal gender, does not affect the SPS approach to transgender prisoners, which is based on a detailed risk assessment for the individual, other inmates and prison staff.

The Guardian understands that within 24 hours of any prisoner’s arrival, a case conference involving SPS staff, NHS and psychological input, and an equality and diversity officer is held to assess risk and that lockdown orders should be reviewed at least monthly.

Asked by the Prime Minister of BBC Radio 4 about the script, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Actually, a trans woman convicted of a crime does not automatically have the right to go to a women’s prison.”

“Assessing all inmates or potential prisoners on an individual basis, the Scottish Prison Service conducts detailed risk assessments of the individual prisoner’s safety. [and] from those who will be around the individual prisoner.

An SPS spokesperson said: “If there is any concern that an individual poses any risk to themselves or others, we maintain our ability to keep them separate from the mainstream population until an agreed management plan comes into effect.”

Findlay also said that “for any rape victim, it is traumatic and humiliating to hear the brutal aggressor referred to as ‘he’ and ‘she’ in court proceedings.”

In December, she worked with Michelle Thomson, one of the SNP backbenchers who rebelled in the initial vote on the bill, on a change that would prevent anyone accused of a sexual offense from changing their legal gender until the end of court proceedings.

However, the amendment was rejected by one vote.

The Guardian understands that prior to the Bryson trial, all parties understood that the accused was formerly known as Graham and that witnesses had encountered the person using that name. Witnesses were not instructed to address the accused and were not corrected when the accused was referred to as “Adam Graham” or “he”.

Rhona Hotchkiss, a former governor of Cornton Vale and an outspoken critic of gender reforms, told the Guardian: [these individuals] the women did not move into the mansion”.

He suggested that the frequency of segregation reviews meant that the SPS would “struggle” to keep Bryson from mixing with other female prisoners.

Responding to the news, Reem Asalem, the UN’s special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, said: said that “It was ridiculous to remember that we’ve been told time and again that predatory and violent men might want to take advantage of loopholes in the system and weak protection to enter female-reserved areas!”

Before the GRR bill was passed in December, Alsalem sent a highly critical letter to the UK government, expressing concerns that the reforms would “open the door for violent men to abuse the process”.

The court heard that Bryson is currently using hormones and has requested surgery to complete the sex reassignment process.

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