Former Labour MP pleads guilty to possessing indecent child movie
- Credit: PA
A former Labour MP who lives in Suffolk has admitted possessing an indecent child movie of the most serious category.
Eric Joyce, 59, who lives in Worlingworth, near Framlingham, pleaded guilty to making an indecent image of a child between August 7, 2013 and November 6, 2018 at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday.
Joyce, a former MP for Falkirk, has been ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register following his guilty plea.
The court heard that the single 51-second movie, found on a device, was of the most serious kind – category A – and involved seven children ranging in age from 12 months old to seven years old.
Joyce claims the movie had been accessed after arriving via a spam email but admitted to being aware of it.
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Other internet searches for both legal and illegal pornography were also discovered, the court heard.
The former shadow Northern Ireland minister was “drinking heavily” at the time and had since undergone work with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation – a national child protection charity – and a psychotherapist, the court heard.
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Judge Emma Peters said the offence, which carries a one-year imprisonment starting point, “clearly crosses the custody threshold” but it would be a question of whether the sentence could be suspended or not.
She said: “You have pleaded guilty to the very serious offence of making an indecent image of a child.
“The court takes such offences very seriously because those who view such movies fuel the abuse of children.”
Judge Peters granted the former MP bail ahead of his sentencing hearing.
Joyce left Labour to serve as independent MP for Falkirk in 2012, stepping down before the 2015 general election.
He also spent 21 years in the army, rising to the rank of major.
A statement published on Joyce’s website last month, after details of the charge emerged, said: “I will make no comment from now until all legal processes are at a close.
“At that point, I will make a full statement.”
A pre-sentence report has been ordered ahead of Joyce’s sentencing, which will take place at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday, August 7.