Scottish Daily Mail

Sex, lies and a very harsh pun­ish­ment

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USU­ALLY, it’s the le­niency of some court sen­tences that’s shock­ing. In the case of Gayle New­land’s eight years for pre­tend­ing to be a man, it’s the harsh­ness of her sen­tence.

Pri­vately ed­u­cated Ms New­land, 25, made love to a girl­friend her own age be­tween six and ten times af­ter they had com­mu­ni­cated on­line and by phone for two years.

Ms New­land had pre­tended to be a man, low­er­ing her voice and bind­ing her chest. Af­ter the vic­tim said she wanted them to sleep to­gether, Ms New­land — say­ing that she’d been dis­fig­ured and was crip­plingly shy — con­vinced her to wear a blind­fold when­ever they met.

They then had sex re­peat­edly, Ms New­land us­ing a sex toy. The vic­tim only dis­cov­ered the de­cep­tion ac­ci­den­tally.

Judge roger Dut­ton said eight years for ‘this cruel and wicked de­cep­tion’ was the min­i­mum sen­tence for three counts of as­sault by pen­e­tra­tion, which had left the vic­tim ‘deeply trau­ma­tised’.

Surely it can­not be right. Some vi­o­lent crim­i­nals get shorter sen­tences than eight years. You’d have thought both per­pe­tra­tor and vic­tim would have ben­e­fited more from psy­chi­atric coun­selling.

I won­der if ‘trauma’ — an im­pre­cise con­di­tion, to say the least — trumps ac­tual phys­i­cal harm in the courts now.

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