John Watt was convicted of sexual abuse crimes against three girls and a boy between 1973 and 1987. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for his crimes. An appeal against both conviction and sentence was lodged on his behalf.
He was convicted of rape, indecent assault and indecent conduct towards the children. He had previously served as a prosecutor and defence counsel, having received the rank of Queens Counsel.
Donald Findlay KC, argued the appeal on behalf of Mr Watt. Mr Findlay argued that at the Preliminary Hearing the judge had erred in refusing the application to allow certain evidence to be heard. It was argued that the evidence and line of questioning was admissible in respect of one of the victims.
Mr Findlay explained that the victim was a daughter of a lawyer and it was heard that her father would take her to a house where she would be sexually assaulted. The woman told the court in her evidence that this was part of a paedophile ring. The victim had reported this to police a number of years ago and at that time had not mentioned that John Watt had been involved in this. Mr Findlay was not permitted to ask the woman about this at trial.
It was argued that the Crown had not produced any evidence to connect Mr Watt with the father of the woman or to the house where the crimes took place.
The appeal was opposed by the Crown and it was submitted that the judge had not erred and stated that the line of questioning was irrelevant and collateral.
The appeal was heard by Lord Woolman, Lord Pentland and Lady Wise at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh. The appeal court stated: “After careful consideration we shall refuse this appeal. We shall issue our reasoning in writing as soon as we can.”