Case Studies (Honourable Mention): 

‘Tiffany Scott’ (AKA Andrew Burns, Obi Wan Kenobi & Mighty Almighty) 
Karen White
Karen White

'Honourable mention' goes to Andrew Burns, AKA 'Tiffany Scott'. This is an exceptionally violent male with an extensive history of violent offending.  He is imprisoned subject to an Order for Lifelong Restriction.  In a series of attacks spread over a few months in 2015 whilst he was being held in the segregation unit at the male prison HMP Glenochil, he bit open his own veins in order to spray people with his blood, smeared excrement over himself and his prison cell, threatened prison staff with a canula he had removed from his arm, and assaulted four wardens and a prison nurse when he smashed a chair over her back (Tim Bugler, The Scottish Sun, 31 August 2017).


The process of bringing him to trial, however, was not straightforward.  A trial at a local court was abandoned after an internal report warned that he was too dangerous to be tried in public.  It was suggested that the case not proceed to trial.  There was an outcry from the Prison Officers’ Association Scotland.  Andy Hogg, Assistant General Secretary, said, “We have members who were injured through this guy’s violence.  Surely it cannot be in the public interest not to prosecute.  It’s definitely not in the interest of our members.  It seems they are saying the more violent you become, the less likely it is you will be taken to court.”  (Norman Silvester, Daily Record, 16 April 2017).  Burns was eventually tried in 2017 at Falkirk Sheriff’s Court, a high security court complex which was put on lockdown, and was convicted of five charges of assault and one of criminal damage.  He was sentenced to an extra year in prison and is being held in the male estate at HMP Saughton (Tim Bugler, The Scottish Sun, 31 August 2017).


So why the ‘honourable mention’?  After all, this man is being held in the male estate, which is the correct thing to do because he is a male.  Despite being held in the male estate, he has managed by way of his ‘transition’ to insist on treatment that is only provided to female prisoners. 


In April 2016 he ‘transitioned’ by changing his name to Tiffany Scott and insisting that only female pronouns be used to refer to him.  As you might expect from such a violent man, his anger at being referred to as a man and by male pronouns is significant.  At his sentencing in 2017 he branded Sheriff Livingstone a “f*cking transphobe b*stard” and “c*nt” when the ‘wrong’ pronouns were used to refer to him (Tim Bugler, The Scottish Sun, 31 August 2017).


Burns, now Scott, demanded that full-searches on him be conducted only by female prison officers.  You can read about searching protocols at Searching transgender prisonsers including the different protocols for searching men and women, and those that are in place for ‘transgender’ prisoners.  A full-search is what is colloquially referred to as a ‘strip-search’, although at no point is a prisoner fully naked.  Searching protocols state that, for this level of searching, male prisoners can only be searched by male prison officers and female prisoners can only be searched by female prison officers.  The reasons for this should be self evident.  In the case of a ‘transgender’ prisoner, who has a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), the searching protocol applied to that prisoner is the one for the sex the prisoner ‘identifies with’, if that is what the prisoner requests.  So, in the case of a ‘transwoman’, full-searches must be carried out by female prison officers, and in the case of a ‘transman’ full-searches must be carried out by male prison officers.  There is no requirement for the prisoner to have undergone any medical or surgical treatment before they are entitled to this, provided they have a GRC.


‘Tiffany’ has had no ‘reassignment’ surgery or hormone treatment whatsoever.  Neither does he have a GRC.  In the case of such a prisoner, full-searches should be carried out by prison officers of the same sex, no matter what the prisoner wants.  However, female prison officers were ordered to carry out these searches on him.  Three refused and brought in their union to back them up.  A prison source said, “The guy is a full-time menace and makes it his daily business to be as difficult as possible.  He files stacks of complaints and every crazy whim he comes up with, the bosses bend over backwards to accommodate him.  They don’t seem to realise it only encourages him.  Burns has claimed to be transgender for a while, though he’s not having hormone treatment or anything.  This week, he insisted on being strip-searched by female warders instead of male.  The women gritted their teeth and did what they were told on the first day.  But on the next shift, they refused point blank.  Nobody blames them.  Burns is creepy and quite clearly a man so there’s no reason why professional warders should have to go along with this fantasy.” (Jane Hamilton, Mirror, 1 April 2016)