Scots legal first as man is convicted for revenge porn

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Jedburgh Sheriff Court this week staged a Scots legal first after a man was convicted under new legislation on revenge porn.

The crackdown on “intimate images” being posted on the internet resulted in Kenneth Robinson becoming the first person to be prosecuted for threatening to post a video of his former partner performing a sex act.

The 59-year-old blitzed his ex with around 100 unwanted emails after they broke up in June, but also threatened to upload “revenge porn”.

The court was told on Monday that one stated that he might put a video of her performing sex acts on him on the World Wide Web.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser said there were five other emails of a similar nature, including another which said: “The video is quite good – you should have a look.”

He added: “She was concerned something of a personal nature might turn up on the internet.”

The victim called in the police about the emails which were sent to her home in Eyemouth, between July 2 and July 10, and also the threat to upload the film on the internet of his former partner in an “intimate situation”.

Robinson, of Blyth, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to sending the emails which were intended to cause her fear, alarm and distress, and became the first person convicted under the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016 since it came into force on July 3.

Defence lawyer Ed Hulme said the 18-month relationship had broken down after his client discovered his partner cheated on him on a holiday, adding: “He turned to alcohol to cope and has little recollection about the emails.”

Mr Hulme insisted Robinson would not have uploaded the video on the internet, saying: “He does not know how”, adding: “The video does not exist anymore.”

Sheriff Peter Paterson took into account Robinson’s previous character and ordered him to pay £200 compensation to his former partner, as well as imposing a three year non-harassment order which prevents him from having any contact with her.

Anne Marie Hicks, Scotland’s national procurator fiscal for domestic abuse, said: “This conviction under the new legislation sends a clear message that behaviour like this is unacceptable, and that those who disclose or threaten to disclose intimate images will be dealt with seriously by the criminal justice system.

“This type of offending is often used as a form of online domestic abuse. It is designed to cause fear, alarm or distress, and often used to humiliate, threaten and control the victim. Those affected may be too embarrassed to come forward for fear they will be blamed.”

She added: “I hope the prosecution and outcome in this case will provide reassurance to victims and that they will have greater confidence to report cases. This type of offending is never acceptable and victims are in no way responsible just because they may have consented to an image being taken.

“The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will continue to work closely with Police Scotland and other partners, including Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland and Assistance, Support and Self-help in Surviving Trauma to tackle all forms of abuse within intimate partner relationships, and we strongly encourage anyone who has been a victim of any such offences to report this to the police.”

The new bill – which was passed by the Scottish Parliament in March last year and received royal assent a month later – makes it a criminal offence for a person to share, publish or distribute private, intimate images relating to another person where the intent is to cause that person fear, alarm or distresss, or where the person is reckless as to the possibility that their behaviour will have this effect.

It is also an offence to threaten to share, publish or distribute such images with intent to cause recklessess about causing fear, alarm or distress.