UK: Jailed women in sexual ‘fraud’ case freed by Court of Appeal

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An 18-year-old woman jailed for three years on the grounds of obtaining the sexual consent of another woman “by fraud” has been freed by the Court of Appeal after serving 82 days in prison.

Justine McNally admitted six counts of sexual assault by penetration at Wood Green Crown Court in north London on 21 March.

She was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and ordered not to contact the witness and her mother.

The court heard McNally, who was 17 at the time, wore “Goth” clothing and persuaded the witness, then aged 16, to have sex with her.

They had previously met online when they were 12 and 13.

During the period, McNally used the name of “Scott” as an identity.

The secret was exposed when a family friend McNally was staying with discovered a strap-on sex toy and bra in her backpack. The witness’s mother then told her daughter: “You do know Scott is actually a girl?”

The mother and daughter then confronted McNally, who produced a picture on Facebook of her dressed in pink clothing and heels.

McNally said she wanted to have gender confirmation treatment in order to continue the relationship – but the witness’s mother contacted the police.

Judge James Patrick said a prison sentence was the only option available because of the damaged caused to the witness.

McNally’s counsel argued that Judge Patrick did not pay heed to her own youth and vulnerability, or give her credit for her decision to plead guilty.

Psychiatric reports found that McNally had self-harmed and was having suicidal thoughts, Wood Green Crown Court heard.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal ruled the original sentence was “too harsh”. Judges gave her a nine-month suspended sentence instead.

Lord Justice Leveson, sitting with Mr Justice Kenneth Parker and Mr Justice Stewart, imposed a two-year supervision order to go with the suspended sentence.