Former Labour MP Eric Joyce handed suspended sentence over indecent image of child
The former Labour MP Eric Joyce was given a suspended prison sentence (PA)
The former Labour MP Eric Joyce has been handed a suspended jail term after being convicted of making an indecent image of a child.
The 59-year-old was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
Joyce, who was the MP for Falkirk between 2000 and 2015, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing of having a device which contained a 51-second film depicting what appeared to be seven different children, aged between 12 months old and seven years old.
Sentencing the former shadow minister, Judge Mr Justice Edis said: "You have pleaded guilty to an offence which involves the possession of a category A film of a little less than a minute's duration.
"That film showed the penetrative sexual abuse of very young children.
"That these acts of abuse happened is because there are people like you who want to watch these films.
"If there was no market, those children wouldn't be subjected to these very serious offences."
But, at the sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court, the judge added: "You have sought help from people well able to provide it and there's evidence before the court that that has had an effect on helping you reduce, perhaps completely, your impulsive behaviour, and that's happened over a significant period due to the delay in these proceedings."
Joyce, of Worlingworth in Suffolk, was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the the offence, which took place between August 2013 and November 2018.
And he was also given an 18-day rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,800.
Having spent 21 years in the Army, rising to the rank of major, Joyce was first elected in a by-election in 2000, and was PPS to several Labour ministers before briefly serving as a shadow Northern Ireland minister in 2010.
He resigned after a conviction for drink-driving.
And in 2012 he was suspended by the party after an incident in the House of Commons, where he was arrested following a fracas in Strangers’ Bar where he headbutted the Tory MP Stuart Andrew.
He later pleaded guilty to to assaulting four people, and spent the last three years of his time in Parliament sitting as an independent, and did not seek re-election in 2015.