Joanna Cherry says convicted rapist Isla Bryson, a trans woman, is a man and should be sent to male prison

SNP MP Joanna Cherry has said convicted rapist Isla Bryson, a trans woman, is a man and should be sent to male prison.

Bryson, from Clydebank, committed the crimes before she transitioned to female and when she was known by the “dead name” Adam Graham. A six-day trial at the High Court in Glasgow heard Bryson raped two women, one in Clydebank in 2016 and one in Drumchapel, Glasgow, in 2019.

It is understood she is being held at Cornton Vale women’s prison in Stirling while awaiting sentence for the crimes, which she committed before she began transitioning to become a woman.

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In an interview with Times Radio, Ms Cherry, a leading KC, said she was “very concerned" about the safety of women prisoners.

She said: “To many people, it will look like this convicted rapist has gamed the system in order to try and garner sympathy, and to end up in a women’s prison. And I think a lot of people will be shocked by that.

“So I think we should be talking about these cases. And women in prison are very vulnerable. Many women in prison have themselves been abused, and have suffered injuries over the years. And so they’re particularly vulnerable. And perhaps some people would say nobody really cares about prisoners.

“But the point about human rights is that they’re universal, and they apply to everyone. So I’m very concerned about the safety of women prisoners, with whom a convicted rapist has been placed.”

“And under Scots law, the crime of rape can only be committed by somebody with a penis, and that’s a man. And I think we should call, I think we should call out what’s happened here.”

Joanna Cherry KC has said that convicted rapist Isla Bryson, a trans woman, is a man and should be sent to male prison.

Interviewer Stig Abell asked: “So, this is a man who’s committed a crime and should be in a male prison?”

To which Ms Cherry replied: “Yes.”

Speaking on trans rights going forward, Cherry added: “Of course, trans people should have equal rights and I think Gender Recognition Reform Bill certainly has the potentiality to improve rights for trans people, but also has the potentiality to impact on the rights of women and girls and the rights of LGB people.

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"When my committees looking at legislation, and to scrutinise it from a human rights perspective, we don't just look at the rights of the people who the legislation is designed to benefit. We also look at the intended or unintended consequences of a piece of legislation for the rights of others, and I don't think there’s been a full analysis of the implications of self-identification on the rights of women and the rights of lesbian gay, and by sexual people.”

The hashtag #NotOurCrimes was trending on Twitter today as woman protested the decision, with an urgent question expected to be raised in the Scottish Parliament today.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Decisions taken by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) on the placement of transgender prisoners are based on protecting both the wellbeing and rights of the individual and those around them, including staff.

“The SPS use comprehensive individualised risk assessments to inform decisions, such as the appropriate location of transgender people in custody, and not the basis of a Gender Recognition Certificate.

“The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill does not change this process in any way.”

A Scottish Prison Service (SPS) spokeswoman said: “Decisions by the SPS as to the most appropriate location to accommodate transgender people are made on an individualised basis, informed by a multi-disciplinary assessment of both risk and need.

“Such decisions seek to protect both the wellbeing and rights of the individual as well as the welfare and rights of others around them, including staff, in order to achieve an outcome that balances risks and promotes the safety of all.

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“Where there are any concerns about any risks posed by an individual, either to themselves or others, we retain the ability to keep them separate from the mainstream population until an agreed management plan is in place.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Russell Findlay said: “We now have the utterly perverse situation where a Scottish court refers to someone who says he identifies as female using ‘her penis’ to rape two vulnerable women.

‘We warned of the inevitability of this happening if the SNP’s gender self-ID law passed, but for it already to have become reality is deeply worrying and an affront to the victims.”