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Friday, December 16, 2005

Transsexual agrees to pay fine for breaching the peace

Belfast Telegraph

I've made my point, says Denise.
A transexual who failed to appear at an Appeals Court hearing in Ballymena today revealed she will be paying a £30 fine imposed earlier this year for breaching the peace.

Denise Martin (44), who started life as Douglas but who has lived as a woman for the last 27 years, initially refused to pay the fine as she felt she has been mistreated by the judicial system.

But speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Denise, from Latharna House in Larne, said: "I think I've done what I set out to achieve. I've let people know how I felt about the way the courts and the police treated me.

"I'll pay the fine. I'll go up to Larne courthouse and pay the £30."

Following an altercation between herself and a transvestite in the Dunluce Street area of Larne in April, she was summonsed to appear in the Co Antrim town's magistrate's court in September.

The transvestite, who has since moved from the Larne area, claimed that during a verbal spat, Denise lifted his skirt and felt his genitals - an allegation branded as "rubbish" by Denise.

She was summonsed as Douglas Martin and failed to appear at the hearing, where she was fined £30 in her absence for breaching the peace.

She said: "When my name was read out in court, they referred to me as Douglas but I've been living as Denise for 27 years."

She also failed to appear at two appeals hearings in Ballymena - one listed last month and one which took place on Monday. During the second hearing, Judge Desmond Marrinan warned that if she failed to pay the fine, she faced seven days in jail.

Since the hearing in Larne, Denise has spoken out about the way she feels she has been treated by the judicial system.

She said: "I'm a woman and the courts need to recognise me as a woman.

"I've been threatened with jail but if this was the case, would they send me to a men's jail or a women's jail?"

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