Craig Raeburn pled guilty. to a contravention under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. He was fined £1000 by the sentencing sheriff.
The respondent became subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order on the 23rd of February 2017. He had been convicted of taking a possessing indecent photographs of children. He was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment.
The order prevented him from using the internet unless there was a record of the history. In 2020, police discovered that he had breached the order by downloading and deleting the Firefox app on 52 separate occasions. He had previously breached the order in 2019 and was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment.
The sheriff took into consideration the timing of the plea and that both his father and sister had recently passed away. He accepted that at the time he had used the internet to search for articles about himself. The sheriff imposed a fine of £1500 reduced to £1000 as an alternative to custody.
The Crown argued that the sentence was unduly lenient. It was submitted on behalf of the appellant that a discount should still be applied for his early plea and the fact he had paid the fine.
In providing the opinion of the court, Lord Carloway stated: Standing the fact that the respondent had a recent, previous conviction for an identical offence, which had attracted a sentence of 15 months’ imprisonment, a further custodial sentence was inevitable. The Crown’s submission that the sheriff failed to give adequate weight to the gravity of the offence and the previous convictions is a sound one. The concession by the respondent that the sentence was unduly lenient was correctly made.”
The Court quashed the sentence and imposed a sentence of 18 months. This was reduced to 12 months’ imprisonment for the early plea and the fine.