- Sarah Jane Baker, 54, was cleared of intentionally encouraging an offence
A trans activist who served 30 years in jail for kidnap and attempted murder has been recalled to prison for breaching her licence conditions, following a rally in which she told the crowd to ‘punch a terf’.
Sarah Jane Baker, 54, of Richmond-upon-Thames, southwest London, will now be held at men’s prison HMP Wandsworth until a parole hearing, which may not take place until March.
It comes as she was yesterday cleared of encouraging assault while at the London Trans+ Pride march from Trafalgar Square to Wellington Arch in London on July 8.
A recording played of the march shows the activist shouting into microphone: ‘I was gonna come here and be really fluffy and be really nice and say be really lovely and queer and gay, nah if you see a terf, punch them in the f****** face’.
Trans campaigners use the acronym TERF as a derogatory term for people who do not align with their own views. It stands for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist’.
Sarah Jane Baker, 54, of Richmond-upon-Thames, southwest London, has been recalled to jail
The activist was cleared of encouraging assault while at the London Trans+ Pride march from Trafalgar Square to Wellington Arch in London on July 8
Baker was first jailed in 1989, aged 19, for kidnapping and torturing her stepmother’s 19-year-old brother.
Sher was later given a life sentence for the attempted murder of a fellow inmate while in prison – of which she served 30 years before her release in 2019, making her the UK’s longest-serving trans prisoner.
After appearing at the central London rally last month, Baker was reported to police and arrested at her home and taken to Charing Cross Police Station on July 12.
The defendant denied intentionally encouraging the commission of an offence, namely assault by beating. Baker accepted she said the words but denied intent.
She appeared at City of London Magistrates Court for trial on Thursday wearing a green top and red beret.
She told the court she believed her job at the protest was ‘To get on the front page of the papers.’
She added: ‘I believe my job was to get on the front page of the papers, my job is to get the public to know that Transgender people exist.’
Baker insisted she was exercising her ‘freedom of expression’ when she gave the speech on behalf of the ‘Trans Prisoners Alliance’.
Prosecutor Kabir Sondhi told the court her speech on behalf of the group had been made to a crowd at Wellington Arch.
He said: ‘The words were clearly capable of encouraging members of the assembled crowd to go out and commit offences of battery against people, Ms Baker referred to as ‘TERFS’, by punching them or otherwise assaulting them.
Sarah Jane Baker, the UK’s longest serving trans prisoner, at a rally at Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square on July 8
‘The prosecution say not only is Ms Baker’s intention gleamed by her particular use of words in her speech but also her admissions and comments during her arrest later. The issue of the case seems to be one solely of intent.’
Baker, giving evidence, said she wished she could take the words back and that she has friends who are trans-exclusionary radical feminists.
She added: ‘I’ve never in my life used any physical violence against trans-exclusionary radical feminists.
‘It wasn’t my finest hour, I am quite annoying but I don’t want people to be hurt because of something that I said.
‘I admit that I’m provocative and I can be obnoxious.
‘I wish I could take them words back.’
Baker said: ‘The only people suffering more than us is migrants – thank God I’m not a transgender migrant.’
After being asked by her defence Lucinda Nicholls what her view was of how the transgender community reacts to violence, she broke down in tears as she said: ‘They’re a gentle folk, they’re a kind folk, they’re a folk who a lot of the transgender community that I personally know have been rejected all their life by their family, by their friends.’
She added: ‘We’re living in dark times and this anti-trans rhetoric is being actively encouraged by our Government.’
Asked by Ms Nicholls what she thought would happen as a result of her words, she said she believed ‘nothing negative would happen’.
And asked what she intended to happen by her words, she said: ‘I was just being funny.’
Protesters outside Westminster Magistrates Court after the arrest of trans activist Sarah Jane Baker last month
‘I don’t want someone to be beaten up because of some rubbish that comes out of my mouth, I just want attention for some of the causes that I believe in,’ Baker said.
Baker was asked why she wishes she did not make the comment and she said because she is now in a male prison with sex offenders.
She added: ‘I’m with people who want to kill me, or rape me, or kill me and rape me.’
When being cross-examined by Mr Sondhi, Baker was asked if she admitted her words could encourage someone to punch someone else in the face, and she replied ‘indeed’.
Ms Nicholls added: ‘There was no-one there from counter protest groups, so who did she intend to be hurt – no one.’
Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram found Baker, of Niton Road, Richmond, not guilty and the public gallery applauded.
He said he was not sure that when she said those words she intended for them to be carried out.
He added: ‘I think it’s also possible you’re just, as you say, an idiot who was trying to get attention to your cause, that you didn’t intend for people to do it, but you said it because you wanted the publicity.’
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