Northern Ireland news

Former Shadow Minister of State for Northern Ireland Eric Joyce facing jail after making indecent image of child

Former Shadow Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Eric Joyce pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to making an indecent photograph of a child. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire
Marie Louise McConville

A former Shadow Minister of State for Northern Ireland is facing jail and has been ordered to sign the sex offenders register after he admitted making an indecent image of a child.

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce (59), Shadow Minister of State for Northern Ireland in 2010, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to the offence, which took place between August 7 2013 and November 6 2018.

Judge Emma Peters said the single 51-second film, found on a device, "depicts a number of children".

"Some are quite young, one is said to be 12 months old," she said.

"Clearly a category A movie."

The Judge said Joyce, who appeared at court in person, "says he accesses it via an email which he says was a spam email".

"At the time he was drinking heavily and he has now undergone work with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and a psychotherapist," she said.

She ordered that a report be prepared before Joyce is sentenced on August 7.

Judge Peters warned Joyce, a former British soldier who served in Northern Ireland, that the offence crosses the custody threshold.

"It's going to be a question of whether it's immediate or suspended," she said.

"You will be required to sign paperwork today acknowledging that you are immediately on the sex offenders register".

Judge Peter said the court "takes such incidents very seriously" as they "fuel the abuse of children".

The defendant was granted bail until he appears back before the court.

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."

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