Former Labour MP Eric Joyce pleads guilty to making indecent photograph of child

7 July 2020, 11:10 | Updated: 7 July 2020, 11:37

Eric Joyce has pleaded guilty to making an indecent photograph of a child
Eric Joyce has pleaded guilty to making an indecent photograph of a child. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce has pleaded guilty to making an indecent photograph of a child and has been forced to sign the sex offenders register.

Joyce is now facing a prison sentence following his admission of guilt at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday.

The 59-year-old, who served as MP for Falkirk in Scotland between 2000 and 2012, pleaded guilty to the offence, which took place between 7 August 2013 and 6 November 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, before adding that it was "clearly a category A movie."

She 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," the judge said.

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

Joyce is set to learn his sentence on 7 August
Joyce is set to learn his sentence on 7 August. Picture: PA

Judge Peters warned the former shadow minister, of Worlingworth, Suffolk, 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," she said.

She 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.

Joyce left Labour to serve as an independent MP for Falkirk in 2012, before stepping down prior to the 2015 general election.

He 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."

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