View Full Version : Pupil banned from school after sex offence

04-Jul-12, 18:24
Sheriff gives the accused an absolute discharge and drops a hint that school should think again.

A TEENAGER has been excluded from his secondary school in Ross-shire after he committed a sex offence and has now been faced with making his own arrangements for the remainder of his education.
The ban emerged at Wick Sheriff Court today before Andrew Lingard (16) was sentenced for kissing and cuddling and petting an underage girl.
Lingard, of Rosehaugh Crescent, Avoch, previously admitted engaging in improper sexual activity with the 14-year-old and was given an absolute discharge, by a sympathetic sheriff, a sentence rarely imposed. The offence occurred at the caravan and camping site at Scrabster between May 5 and 6, this year.
Solicitor Neil Wilson appealed to Sheriff Andrew Berry not to put Lingard on the sex offenders’ register saying: “He is no danger to the public whatsoever. The accused has taken the case very seriously. He is entirely contrite and has suffered not only from the shame and embarrassment it has brought but he was asked to leave his school.”
When Sheriff Andrew Berry queried this, Mr Wilson confirmed that Lingard was not going to be allowed back into the school and had had to change his educational plans considerably, with a view to pursuing his education at a college.Sheriff Berry commented: “That decision was taken before the court has decided what to do with the case. It might well be something to be sensibly revisited.”
Mr Wilson replied, however, that Lingard had accepted the situation and was making other arrangements. He added: “Would he want to go back to a school at which he is not welcome?”
Passing sentence, Sheriff Berry, who saw a background report, said that Lingard was a first offender and had pled guilty at an early stage.
He said it was “absolutely clear” that the accused was not a danger to anyone in any way, particularly so far as any form of improper sexual behaviour was concerned and he would not be placed on the sex offenders' register.
Lingard was someone who was not likely to reoffend said the sheriff addding: “It seems to me, taking all the circumstances into account and the information I have received, the sentence I should pass, and it’s not one I would, in many cases, would be to grant you an absolute discharge.”
That means that Lingard continues to have no criminal record.At the same court sitting, the sheriff refrained from putting another teenager, who sent texts of a sexual nature to an underage girl, on the sex offenders' register, saying that he was convinced he was also no danger to the public.Matthew Begg, of Albyn Court, Thurso, had known the 15-year-old for a year, when he sent the messages on July 3, last year.The offence came to light when her mother found the texts on her daughter’s mobile telephone and informed the police. The court was told it was clear that the girl was “a willing recipient” of the messages described by David Barclay, prosecuting, as being “of a racey nature”.Solicitor Neil Wilson described the accused’s actions as “a very, very, foolish, one-off ” and he had on reflection, realised this.Sheriff Berry ordered Begg (19) to carry out 40 hours unpaid community work.