Ex-Labour MP avoids jail for making an indecent image of child

7 August 2020, 11:22

Eric Joyce has been given a suspended prison sentence
Eric Joyce has been given a suspended prison sentence. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A former Labour MP has been given a suspended prison sentence for making an indecent image of a child.

Eric Joyce was given eight months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

The 59-year-old was MP for Falkirk between 2000 and 2012, and had a 51-second video on a device depicting a number of children.

They ranged in age from seven years to 12 months old.

Joyce, of Worlingworth, Suffolk, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at Ipswich Crown Court to the offence, which took place between August 2013 and November 2018.

Judge Mr Justice Edis, sentencing the former shadow minister on Friday, said: "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."

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."

Mr Justice Edis also sentenced Joyce to a sexual harm prevention order, which will last until further order of the court.

He was also given an 18-day rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,800.

Joyce left Labour to serve as independent MP for Falkirk in 2012, stepping down before the 2015 general election. He spent 21 years in the Army, rising to the rank of major.