HMA v James Moore 2018

Mr James Moore was sentenced to two years and three months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to taking, possessing and sharing indecent images of children. He has now had his appeal against a custodial term imposed rejected but the appeal Court quashed the Sexual Offences Prevention Order attached to his sentenced as this was deemed unnecessary.

The appellant pled guilty to the offences at Ayr Sheriff Court and was sentenced at a starting point of 40 months discounted for his guilty plea by one third. A SOPO was also imposed under section 104 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and this had a number of conditions that prevented him having certain access to the internet. It was heard at the appeal court that Mr Moore was a first offender, who had lost his family, employment and good reputation and he also had no previous convictions. It was argued he already had “suffered considerably.” The appeal judges were not satisfied that there was an error in relation to the length of the custodial sentence.

The Court concluded that the mitigating factors did not out way the aggravating factors in this case. However, it was accepted that the SOPO was not needed to protect the public. Lady Paton stated in this respect: “The appellant will serve a period of imprisonment.

We would expect there to be a rehabilitative component to his time in custody, including relevant programmes and courses. After a maximum period of 13 ½ months, he will be released on licence. The conditions of his licence will be specified by the parole board and are likely to include conditions very similar to conditions 1-3 of the SOPO. He will, therefore, be subject to monitoring and management during his period of licence. If there is any concern arising from his behaviour during that period, an application can be made to the sheriff for a SOPO.”