Community payback for Snapchat sex offender

Brass Scales of Justice
Brass Scales of Justice

A man convicted of using social media app Snapchat to groom a teenage girl into having sex in his car has avoided a jail sentence.

Philip Barr first contacted the girl via Snapchat using two fake names.

Later, after he had had sex with the girl, Barr was found hiding in her wardrobe by her brother.

And when his father found out about the incident Barr was escorted straight to police headquarters and handed over to officers.

Fiscal depute Vicki Bell told Dundee Sheriff Court that Barr knew the girl was 14 from the outset of communicating with her.

She said: “He conversed with the complainer using two fake Snapchat accounts.

“She assumed it was a boy of the same age as her.

“He then claimed to be 17-years-old but she later became aware it was the accused and knew who he was.

“She asked him if it was weird for him to be having contact with a 14-year-old girl but he said no.

“On February 9 he contacted her and said he had been thinking about her.

“He picked her up in the car and drove to another area.

“They kissed and had unprotected sex in the car.

“She became uncomfortable and didn’t want it to continue.

“She didn’t want to tell anyone about what had happened.

“On February 26 he met the complainer at her home.

“He was later found by her brother hiding in a wardrobe and was told to get out.

“She later told a friend what had happened and the accused was challenged by that friend.

“He denied having sex with her at that stage.

“The accused’s father was then told by the complainer’s friend.

“Thereafter he admitted what had happened and his father took him to police headquarters and gave a statement.”

Barr, 20, of Fyfe Street, Forfar, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act committed on February 9 last year.

Defence solicitor Nick Whelan said it was Barr himself, along with his father, who had reported the matter to the police and that otherwise it might not have come before the courts.

Mr Whelan said: “He accepted his responsibility from the outset.”

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael sentenced Barr to a community payback order of 18 months, 160 hours unpaid work and a six-month restriction of liberty order.

Barr was also placed on the sex offenders register for 18 months.

Sheriff Carmichael also imposed a conduct requirement which states that Barr is to have no direct contact with any child under 17 and his software and Internet use and devices are to be approved by supervising officers.

He said: “This is a very serious offence and one that is definitely within the custodial range.

“A community payback order would be appropriate, however it must be alongside a punishment element such as unpaid work and a restriction of liberty order.”