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by Louise Wilson
24 June 2021
Joanna Cherry to defend woman charged with communications offences

Joanna Cherry MP - Image credit: Jane Barlow/PA Wire/PA Images

Joanna Cherry to defend woman charged with communications offences

Joanna Cherry is to defend a feminist campaigner who has been accused of posting allegedly transphobic messages on social media.

Marion Millar, from Airdrie, was charged under section 127 of the Communications Act earlier this month for tweets posted in 2019.

One of the complaints relates to a photo retweeted by Millar of a ribbon in suffragette colours which complainers argue represented a noose.

The details of the other complaints are unknown.

Cherry has confirmed a return to the bar on a limited basis to represent Millar through legal firm Beltrami and Company.

The SNP MP stopped practising after her election to Westminster in 2015 owing to the demands of being on the frontbench.

She was dropped as the party’s justice spokesperson in February this year. She told Scottish Legal News: “Now that I no longer have those responsibilities, I hope to be able to take on human rights and public law cases from time to time, as my duties as a constituency MP allow.”

Millar’s case will be Cherry’s first since becoming an MP. The QC has been granted permission to practise by Dean of Faculty Roddy Dunlop.

Cherry added: “I remain very committed to the law as an important instrument for upholding human rights and preventing discrimination and I am sure that there will be a synergy between the cases I take on and the values I have championed in elected politics, particularly respect for human rights, equality and the rule of law.”

Millar was bailed at the start of June to appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court on 20 July.

She has campaigned for sex-based rights to be protected and expressed concern that moves to improve trans rights could have a negative impact on women’s rights.

Cherry herself has been at the forefront of a row over the Scottish Government’s plans to change the Gender Recognition Act.

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