Man guilty of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing 16-year-old

The Oban Times - - News -

A FORT Wil­liam man has been found guilty of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a teenager in her sleep.

Thomas John Findlay, 18, was found guilty at Fort Wil­liam Sher­iff Court on Novem­ber 17 of sex­u­ally touch­ing the woman, who was 16 at the time and can­not be named for le­gal rea­sons, at an ad­dress in the town on Septem­ber 27, 2014.

The ap­pren­tice elec­tri­cian, who was 17 at the time of the of­fence, was found not guilty of at­tempt­ing to rape the woman.

Procu­ra­tor fis­cal Michelle Mol­ley used Findlay’s recorded po­lice in­ter­view from Oc­to­ber 13, 2014 at Fort Wil­liam po­lice sta­tion as her first piece of ev­i­dence.

In the in­ter­view, he ini­tially de­nied any­thing had hap­pened on the night of the of­fence.

How­ever, when po­lice of­fi­cers said they had seen a text mes­sage con­ver­sa­tion be­tween the two from the vic­tim’s mo­bile phone, claim­ing he had tried to rape her, Findlay ad­mit­ted: ‘I did try to have sex with her, but she said no, so I stopped.’

While he claimed he had been asked into the bed by the woman ‘to cud­dle up’, she said she had drunk­enly fallen asleep on the couch in her liv­ing room and wo­ken up in her bed­room to find Findlay be­hind her in her bed in the ‘spoon­ing’ po­si­tion. He had pulled the cloth­ing on her bot­tom half down to her knees and was touch­ing her pri­vate parts.

The vic­tim, who was by her own ad­mis­sion, strug­gling with al­co­hol and other per­sonal prob­lems at the time, said in court: ‘I woke up in my bed­room down­stairs. He must have car­ried me there. I could feel some­one be­hind me and I turned around and could see it was Thomas.’

The woman said she re­mem­bered only one sex­ual as­sault, how­ever Findlay said he twice fon­dled the woman while she was sleep­ing – once at around 11pm, af­ter which the pair fell asleep, and once again at around 1am, at which point he left af­ter she told him to stop.

De­fend­ing, Hamish Mel­rose asked the vic­tim: ‘Thomas was clearly try­ing it on with you?’

‘ While I was sleep­ing, passed out,’ she replied.

Mr Mel­rose said: ‘I put it to you that he didn’t try to have sex with you out­with your will?’ She replied: ‘ Well, why did he wait till I was sleep­ing?’

In court, Findlay said at no point did he ex­pose him­self but did ad­mit to touch­ing her sex­u­ally on two oc­ca­sions, while she was asleep.

Fis­cal Mol­ley said to Findlay: ‘The first time she said to you, ‘ what the f*** are you do­ing?’, but you tried a sec­ond time. You were sober, she was drunk and asleep. Do you know what con­sent is?’ Findlay replied: ‘ Yes’. The fis­cal con­tin­ued: ‘If she is asleep, can she con­sent?’, to which he replied, ‘No’.

Findlay also ad­mit­ted un­der cross- ex­am­i­na­tion that he ‘felt bad for her’, and for ‘hurt­ing her’.

Sher­iff Michael Fletcher QC de­ferred sen­tence on Findlay un­til De­cem­ber 6 for crim­i­nal so­cial jus­tice and psy­cho­log­i­cal re­ports, and or­dered him to be put on the sex of­fend­ers reg­is­ter.

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