June 2018

Married man who had sex with underage boy in abandoned building sees jail term cut

A married man who admitted having sex with a child has had his “excessive” prison term reduced.

Douglas Sinclair, 32, was jailed for four years for having sex with the underage teen – who claimed online he was 18.

But judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh ruled the term was “excessive” and reduced it to three years.

Perth Sheriff Court previously heard the predator abused the youngster in a derelict building in the grounds of the Murray Royal Infirmary in Perth.

Sinclair admitted that on one occasion between August 2015 and January 2016, in the grounds of the hospital, he engaged in sexual acts with the teen.

The offence came to light after the boy was involved in an incident at his school and used a chat site to engage in sexual acts with Sinclair and others.

Sinclair’s DNA was found on a curtain at the scene but he initially denied the offence when quizzed about it.

Sheriff Gillian Wade, sentencing Sinclair, had said: “Given your assessment as being at very high risk of sexual re-conviction, your attitude to the crime and the nature of the offence, there is no alternative to custody.

“It’s deeply concerning you are not accepting all your guilt to the extent it might be accepted and you seek to blame the victim, who was a child.”

But appeal judges Lord Menzies and Lord Glennie took the view that Sheriff Wade “misapprehended” Sinclair’s early release provisions.

Lord Menzies said: “The sheriff imposed an extended sentence in total of 66 months.

“The custodial term of that sentence was four years which was discounted from a starting point of five years to reflect the early plea of guilty, and the extension period was 18 months (the period when the offender is on licence).

“We are persuaded that in all the circumstances of this case it appears the sheriff may have misapprehended the current situation with regard to early release provisions, and in light of that and in all the other circumstances of the case we consider the custodial term which she selected, namely four years discounted from five, is indeed excessive.

“We shall accordingly quash the sentence which she imposed and substitute a custodial term of three years’ imprisonment, that being discounted from a starting point of four years to reflect the early plea.

“We are, however, not persuaded that it is inappropriate to impose an extended sentence in this case – particularly having regard to the effect that our decision on the custodial term will have.

“We shall reduce the custodial term from four years to three but maintain the extension period of 18 months which was imposed by the sheriff.”