Man, 61, jailed for two years af­ter sex with teenage girl in take­away

Court: Busi­ness­man ad­mit­ted af­fair with 15-year-old over six months

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - MORAY NEWS - BY DAVID MACKAY

A for­mer take­away owner has been jailed for hav­ing sex with an un­der­age teenager at his El­gin busi­ness.

James Smith, of Lhan­bryde, met the 15-year-old numer­ous times dur­ing a six-month af­fair at his busi­ness and the car­a­van he used to share with his wife.

Yes­ter­day, the 61-year-old was jailed at El­gin Sher­iff Court af­ter he ad­mit­ted hav­ing con­sen­sual in­ter­course with the young­ster at CJ’s Plaice and the neigh­bour­ing Deano’s Di­rect on “var­i­ous oc­ca­sions”.

Sher­iff Chris Dick­son de­scribed the of­fence as a “breach of trust” due to the “huge” age dif­fer­ence between the cou­ple.

Smith shared mes­sages with the girl on a se­cret mo­bile phone he kept hid­den in a de­liv­ery van. When his wife dis­cov­ered the texts on the de­vice, she con­fronted him at the chip shop.

Po­lice de­tained the busi­ness­man on De­cem­ber 4 last year af­ter be­ing called to a “dis­tur­bance” at the take­away.

Smith trans­ferred the own­er­ship of the busi­ness to his wife af­ter the of­fences came to light and now has no in­volve­ment with the firm.

De­fence solic­i­tor Robert Cruick­shank ex­plained his client had cut off con­tact with the girl fol­low­ing the of­fence and his marriage had now “bro­ken down”.

He added: “He made a mis­take. He doesn’t blame any­one apart from him­self for that.

“Hope­fully the vic­tim doesn’t have long-last­ing detri­men­tal ef­fects. My client has ob­vi­ously done all that he can by plead­ing guilty as early as he could.”

Mr Cruick­shank added that no vic­tim im­pact state­ment had been pre­pared from the girl be­cause it was con­sid­ered there had been “no im­pact” on her.

A so­cial work re­port pre­pared ahead of yes­ter­day’s hear­ing con­cluded that the busi­ness­man was con­sid­ered at “low risk” of of­fend­ing again.

How­ever, Sher­iff Dick­son was sat­is­fied a prison sen­tence was the only sen­tenc­ing op­tion.

He said: “Mr Smith, you have pleaded guilty to an ex­tremely se­ri­ous of­fence, of hav­ing sex with a 15-year-old child on numer­ous times over a six-month pe­riod.

“It oc­curred in cir­cum­stances where there was a huge dif­fer­ence of age of some 45 years.”

Smith, of St An­drews Road, was jailed for two years and has been placed

“Shared mes­sages with the girl on a se­cret mo­bile”

on the sex of­fend­ers’ reg­is­ter for 10 years. A re­port will also be sent to Scot­tish min­is­ters to con­sider whether he is un­suit­able to work with chil­dren.

He pleaded guilty to a sin­gle charge of hav­ing sex with a 15-year-old girl at an ear­lier hear­ing.

CAUGHT: For­mer take­away owner James Smith’s wife dis­cov­ered il­licit texts

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