A MAN who admitted having indecent computer pictures and videos of children at his former Inverness home avoided jail this week.
Instead Keir Hardie (42) was placed on a supervision order for three years, ordered not to contact children, and sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work. He was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ register.
Hardie previously admitted at Inverness Sheriff Court that between August 24, 2011, and February 21 last year at his previous address in Madras Street, Inverness, taking or permitting to be taken photos or pseudo photos of children.
He also admitted between the same dates possessing indecent photos or pseudo photos of children with a view to these being distributed or shown to others.
Sentence had been deferred until Tuesday for psychiatric reports.
The court previously heard how police received information on February 20 last year flagging up Hardie’s IP computer address. Procurator Fiscal Alison Wylie told the court devices were taken away and examined.
The main pornography was found on the external hard drive – 140 images and 12 videos, as well as three thumbnail images ranging from level one to level five on the scale police use to determine the severity of child pornography images.
Ms Wylie told the court at that time: “The images were mostly of young girls, the level four images showed girls being tied up. The videos showed young girls exposing themselves or masturbating.”
Ms Wylie said Hardie had searched for 13 and 14 year old girls.
She added: “He said it was out of boredom. He started with adult material and then moved on from there. With reference to young children he said he had forgotten to delete images straight away. He said it was due to curiosity.
“He said he was aware in using the file sharing software that these images would also be there for others to upload.
“He denied that he was contacting people and making them aware it was there.”
On Tuesday, defence agent Marc Dickson, said Hardie, who has a form of autism called Aspergers, had been in a steady long distance relationship for some years, but the couple had recently moved in together and Hardie had relocated to Admiralty Street in Edinburgh. He said this had been a positive move.
Regarding the offence, he said Hardie had been accessing “mainstream adult porn” before moving onto that mentioned in the charge. He described the second charge of possessing indecent photos or pseudo photos of children with a view to these being distributed or shown to others as a “technical offence” relating to the type of software being used. He said he had been using a music sharing software to access images and it can be theoretically possible to file share using this software.
However, he said there was no suggestion he had taken steps to distribute images.
He said Hardie had been co-operative with police, accepted his wrong doing and was “genuinely remorseful”. He added he had sought help from a child sexual abuse prevention organisation called “Stop It Now”.
He added in Edinburgh he has support for his Aspergers.
Sheriff David Sutherland told Hardie any offence of this nature is serious.
He said the question was whether the case could be dealt with by a non-custodial sentence and that after considering all the facts, including that his was at the “lower end” of such cases, he was satisfied he could protect the public by placing him on a three-year community payback order in which he will be supervised. He was also ordered to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work.
As part of the supervision requirements, he was told he must attend the sex offenders’ groupwork programme, that he can’t have contact with children under 17 unless agreed by his supervising officer, that he can’t use internet enabled media without meeting the requirements of his supervising officer and that he will allow his internet music and DVDs to be inspected by his supervising officer