Up bright and early and on the phone to the Met. Wrong force, as it turns out, but they will pass the matter on all the same.
In court yesterday, as most of the trans community are now well aware, Judge Pontius reportedly uttered the immortal words: “This defendant is in the process of undergoing a sex change. Has it been completed?”
The story (in respect of Nina Kanagasingham) then went on with the suggestion that he had done so before decideing which prison to remand her to. Not so, according to the court: the decision as to where Nina is remanded sits squarely with the prison service and is nothing to do with the court.
So…er, why would he ask this, given it makes no difference to the outcome…and can hardly be germane to whether the defendant is or is not guilty of the crime of which she is accused.
Would we be happy with judges inquiring: “This defendant…is she black?” Or even: “This defendant is exceedingly well turned-out. Is he gay?”
Course not. But its OK if your transgendered? Bollocks to that.
And interestingly, the law seems to think much the same. Many thanks to Aunty Sarah and Zoe for drawing my attention to this, but it is a criminal offence under s22 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 “for a person who has acquired protected information in an official capacity to disclose the information to any other person.”
Never been used, apparently. Or rather, not used before today. Because this morning i asked the Met to look at the judge’s words and to investigate whether the judge had committed an offence.
We shall see. Its been “crimed” – that is, given an official crime number – and the Met will now pass it on to City of London Police. My fault, my geography. I’d forgotten that the Old Bailey sat in their patch.
It is of course quite possible they will decide no case to answer. After all, there are exemptions, including where the disclosure is in accordance with an order of a court or tribunal, it is for the purpose of instituting, or otherwise for the purposes of, proceedings before a court or tribunal, or is for the purpose of preventing or investigating crime.
Hmmm. Arguable. But i’d say none of those quite apply here. So we shall see.
And if anyone else wishes to take action under this section, drop me a line. I can see it being very useful indeed.