HMA V Ricky Taylor

Mr Taylor has successfully appealed against his conviction after being convicted of an offence under s5 of the Sexual Offences Act 2009, coercing another into being present during sexual activity.

It was alleged the appellant repeatedly exposed himself and masturbated in view of his next door neighbour on various occasions. However, at the trial diet a no case to answer submission from the appellant was repelled by the sheriff which the appellant argued was done in error. In addition, the appellant argued that only one of the occasions in question was corroborated, however he was found guilty of this activity occurring on four occasions.

The appeal court ruled that the sheriff had not erred in repealing the no case to answer submission and there was weight in doing so. However, the appeal court considered the corroboration question in greater detail. The complainer in this case was the appellants neighbour who stated that he was sexually inappropriate against his bathroom window and tapped on the window to get her attention. On one occasion the complainer told her partner about this and they both gave evidence about this time which the trial sheriff found creditable and reliable.

The sheriff therefore concluded this led to a course of conduct as this incident happened so close to the other incidents that the complainer had alleged.

The appeal court rejected this view however and stated each episode was a separate incident which required to be corroborated in itself. Therefore, the appeal was allowed and the conviction quashed and only held in relation to the single incident which was corroborated by the partner.

As a result of this the appellant’s Community payback hours were reduced to 150 and his restriction of Liberty order was also reduced to 3 months.