A Carluke man escaped being convicted of a sex crime following an unusual intervention from the bench in his case at Lanark Sheriff Court on Thursday.
However, 30-year-old Robert Kelso was still fined £400 under a different caregory of offence after admitting sending a sexual image by social media to his ex-partner, a picture showing the breasts and genitalia of a new girlfriend.
Kelso originally pleaded guilty to committing this act as an offence under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act and sentence was deferred until Thursday for background reports.
Making a plea in mitigation, a solicitor for Kelso, of 7 Windsor Court, said that “the motive behind the message was `I have moved on with my life and this is my current girlfriend’. The social work report has interpreted this as an attempt to provoke jealousy. It was done on an impulse and he is now most remorseful.”
The solicitor added that Kelso had been suspended from his job pending the outcome of the case and an employment review.
At this point Sheriff Scott Pattison intervened and said that, on reading the background reports “I wonder if he (Kelso) is pleading guilty to the right charge?”
The sheriff said that it appeared that there had been no actual sexual motive behind the offence, it being aimed at causing upset to Kelso’s former partner.
After an adjornment for behind-the-scenes discussions, Kelso’s solicitor returned to withdraw the original plea and subsitutute one of guilty to a charge with the same wording but under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act, meaning the first offender would not carry a conviction for a sexual offence. However, the sheriff told Kelso that it had still been a serious matter and fined him £400.