Transgender South Shields woman cleared of raping a man
A transgender woman accused of raping a man has been cleared over the alleged attack after the charges against her were dropped.
Katie Brannen had been accused of raping the same man twice during an attack on January 29.
But the 25-year-old was formally found not guilty of both charges after prosecutors offered no evidence against her during a Newcastle Crown Court hearing in October.
Her acquittal could not be reported at the time as Brannen faced further, completely unrelated charges of sexual assault, theft, damaging property and common assault in relation to a stand-off with a cabbie the day after the alleged rapes.
Brannen, formerly of Green Lane, South Shields, was in court today, where those four offences were dropped after she pleaded guilty to a public order offence.
The court heard Brannen had initially refused to leave the cab when a row erupted with the driver outside the Magic Flame restaurant in Newcastle on January 30.
But the stand-off ended up in a "comic" chase around the car, with the cabbie trying to get away.
Prosecutor Julie Clemitson said: "It is apparent there was a dispute that took place inside the taxi.
"That resulted in some reluctance on the part of Miss Brannen to get out. She did get out.
"She get back in at some point and ultimately ended up, in an almost comic fashion given that she was intoxicated and wearing high heels, chasing the taxi driver around his taxi.
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"There was some sort of physical contact. What took place was largely ineffectual."
Judge Paul Sloan QC sentenced Brannen to a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered her to pay £100 costs.
The court heard she had served three months either in custody or on a tagged curfew while the case progressed through the courts, which is the equivalent of a six-month jail term.
The maximum prison sentence a judge could impose was six months.
Judge Sloan told her: "At a time when you were in drink you became involved in an unpleasant altercation with a taxi driver.
"In reality, you have served a very significant custodial sentence, indeed a longer sentence than would normally have been imposed for this offence."
Gavin Doig, defending, said: "She has already served more than the maximum. This was an unfortunate incident.
"Miss Brannen must stop getting herself intoxicated and coming into dispute with people in the street or in taxis."
The court heard Brannen has previous convictions for 42 offences, including public order, being drunk and disorderly and making off without payment.