Pirton mother found guilty of causing ‘needless anxiety’ after transgender Twitter row

PUBLISHED: 17:44 17 February 2020

St Albans magistrates court in 2017

St Albans magistrates court in 2017

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A Pirton mother who called a transgender woman a ‘pig in a wig’ during a Twitter row was handed a two-year conditional discharge at St Albans Magistrates’ Court last week.

Kate Scottow, from Pirton, was found guilty of persistently making use of a public communications network to cause annoyance, inconvenience and anxiety to Stephanie Hayden, between September 2018 and May 2019.

During a two day trial at St Albans Magistrates Court, it was heard how Scottow was accused of being a Twitter troll, who misgendered Ms Hayden by referring to her as a he or him.

Giving evidence, Ms Hayden described the "harassment" she endured: "This is the problem with these people. It's just done to annoy people like me.

"It's calculated to violate my dignity as a woman."

Hayden had initially started civil proceedings against the defendant but reached an agreement where there would be no communication over social media.

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Mrs Scottow's barrister, Diana Wilson, described Ms Hayden as a "serial complainant."

Before evidence was called, she argued before the judge that her client could not expect a fair trial because police had failed the investigate the matter fully.

In an abuse of process argument, Ms Wilson said police officers had launched a one-sided investigation which relied on what Ms Hayden had told them and which had not been verified by examining devices.

Finding her guilty, District Judge Margaret Dodd said: "You felt able to make personal and offensive comments about her [Ms Hayden]. It was abuse for the sake of it. Your comments contributed nothing to a debate.

"We teach children to be kind to each other and not to call each other names in the playground."

Mrs Scottow is subject to a two-year conditional discharge and must pay £1,000 costs within six months. It's understood that she is considering appealing the decision.

There were also protesters outside the court after the hearing who shouted: "Pig in a wig" and "He is a man - go on prosecute me."

They tied scarves in the purple, green and white colours of the Suffragettes to lampposts outside the building. They held also banners aloft which read "we love free speech"

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