Angus OAP said child sex abuse was ‘horseplay’ as he is spared jail by Dundee sheriffIvy Madziva
Angus OAP said child sex abuse was ‘horseplay’ as he is spared jail by Dundee sheriff.
A pensioner convicted of sexually abusing a child has been spared a prison sentence.
Francis Arnold, 67, indecently touched the child at an address in Montrose on an occasion between March 2017 and May last year.
Arnold seized the child on various occasions before pulling the child on to his knee.
He then inappropriately touched the youngster and exposed himself to the child.
Jurors at Dundee Sheriff Court found the ex-Royal Marine guilty by a majority verdict.
The court heard that Arnold continues to deny there was any sexual element and insists that he was engaging in “horseplay”.
Arnold, of Arbroath, returned to the dock to be sentenced by Sheriff Alastair Carmichael following the preparation of social work reports.
Defence solicitor Douglas Fraser said Arnold’s family had disowned him as a result of the offence with no prospect of any reconciliation.
Mr Fraser said: “He has more or less stuck to his position throughout.
“There was horseplay, tickling and cuddling. He denies any sexual connotations but he recognises that the jury rejected that position.”
The solicitor added: “He fully accepts the verdict and I have no instructions to appeal the conviction.
“I would ask, exceptionally, there are grounds for not imposing a custodial sentence because of his age and the fact he is more or less a first offender.”
Sheriff Carmichael said: “This is the kind of offence which would normally attract a custodial sentence but I am satisfied because of the particular circumstances it is possible to go down the non-custodial route.”
Arnold was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and was placed on the sex offenders register and under supervision for three years.
He was also made subject to a conduct requirement for the same period.
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