Statement on UK legal bigotry and stupidity

This went out about ten minutes ago. Anyone wanting to help, very welcome to get in touch.


Is the UK legal system in the business of killing the transgendered?

One would hope not. However, according to writer and sexual rights activity, Jane Fae, the decision taken this morning by Judge Pontius at the Old Bailey to consign a trans woman awaiting trial for murder to an all-male prison is “legally ignorant, irresponsible, and dangerous”.

Jane said: “I am disgusted at the decision by Judge Pontius to order that Nina Kanagasingham be remanded, awaiting trial, in Wandsworth – a male prison.

“This is legally ignorant – in that under the Equality Act 2010, the fact that Nina is already undergoing treatment for her gender condition and identifies as female suggests strongly she should be remanded to a women’s prison – irrespective of whether she has “completed” her treatment to the satisfaction of a judge.”

“Far worse, however, is that by sending her to a male prison, he is actively condemning her to a situation where it is highly likely she will suffer victimisation, abuse or serious injury”.

“Quite apart from the danger to Nina, this decision demonstrates an absolute lack of respect for her personally, or the likely trauma she will suffer by being incarcerated in an all-male facility.

Jane went on: “I have this morning spoken with the EHRC and the Office of the Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone. I have asked that the Minister intervene personally – and have put her Office on notice that if any harm befalls Nina, then the transgendered community will hold the government and the legal system directly responsible”.

Jane is now consulting with others in the community in respect of possible direct action to take on this issue.

Jane has also spoken with the Old Bailey and stated that the trans community will hold Judge Pontius personally responsible for any harm that comes to the accused in this case.


About janefae

On my way from here to there
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7 Responses to Statement on UK legal bigotry and stupidity

  1. angercanbepower says:

    This is horrendous. I want to help. I’m in London, can write reasonably and can get around. If you think going to Wandsworth will help, I’m there, and I can try and rally people.

    As far as I can see, the only way to increase the physical safety of Nina Kanagasingham while she is in prison is to raise the profile of this issue so much that HMPS will not allow themselves to be embarrassed by us being right.

    Anyway, email me or post a reply here and I will help if I can.

  2. lauraeva says:

    This is appaling. Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty” ?

    I guess if you have been charged with murder custodial remand is necessary, but its not intended to be a punishment in itself. Nothing can be more traumatic for a trans-woman or more unjust and dangerous than incarceration in a men’s prison for over three months.

    Also why was the charge “murder” which needs proof of premeditation and intent, and not manslaughter which the incident might indicate … seems like double discrimination on grounds gender and race ?

    Nina was being treated for transsexualism, apparently identifies fully as female and is regarded as female. Why should the judge take the attitude that until transition is surgically complete (his own question) a person should be treated as male, which goes against all current legal principles, GRA, Equalities Act, etc.

    Surely it is not up to a judge to decide place of incarceration and the prison service will swiftly move Nina to a more gender appropriate institution as deemed appropriate ?

    • janefae says:

      OK. Let’s separate the fact from the speculation here (and not having a go, Laura…just fact-checking.

      The murder charge is because it is a darn sight easier to come down from murder to manslaughter than go up from manslaughter to murder.

      “Intent” has a very peculiar and specific legal connotation in this context and behaviour that is stupid enough to be seriously reckless COULD constitute “intent” for the purposes of the law.

      According to the Old Bailey, the judge did not decide to send Nina to a male prison. That decision IS in the hands of the prison service and the judge has no sway over that. The PA reports appear to be not 100% accurate – or rather, they may have juxtaposed comment and fact in an unhelpful manner.

      On the prison front…there are moves afoot to sort that out as we speak….though not clear where this is going to end up. It is possible that the prison service have just broken their own guidelines.

  3. Natacha says:

    Good piece Jane. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. We also need to be prepared for a rash of viciously transphobic stories from the gutter press.

  4. Caroline says:

    Does the word incompetent not spring to mind?

    How can the system be so full of holes whilst being run by highly paid fools who don’t seem to even understand their own rules?

  5. Starshine Tara says:

    It is a difficult situation that this woman finds herself in. I guess it could be argued that had she not allegedly pushed someone under a train, then she wouldn’t be in this situation. I think it’s important that the deceased’s right not to be murdered or unlawfully killed is remembered also.

    That said, I guess this woman’s alleged actions will test the legal process and reveal whether it truly serves to protect the rights and dignities of transsexual people.
    I agree that the prison service should fully comply with the law protecting transsexual people in this respect. My respect goes to those fighting for this.

    I read a quote somewhere that said: “The true test of a civilised society is in the way it treats its prisoners”…or words to that effect.

  6. angercanbepower says:

    Tara, the alleged crime is irrelevant. That is what the criminal justice system is for: to try this woman and if she is found of sound mind and guilty then to sentence her in a manner consistent with the law. Not to arbitrarily punish her on the basis of her sex before she has been convicted.

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