Ex-court clerk Donald Bruton sentenced over child abuse images

5 August 2014 Last updated at 14:12

Ex-court clerk Donald Bruton sentenced over child abuse images

A former clerk of the High Court and Court of Session has been put on a community payback order for downloading indecent images of young girls.

Donald Bruton, 60, from Edinburgh, previously admitted downloading the images between 24 July 2011 and 3 October 2013.

He was placed on a two year supervised community payback order and will have to register as a sex offender.

Bruton resigned from his court position soon after his arrest.

Fiscal depute, Aidan Higgins said at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court hearing in July: “He told the police he had been downloading these images of children for some time out of curiosity and had taken to searching for indecent images.”

The fiscal said there were 16 still pictures, four at level one, one at level two, four at level three, four at level four and three at level five, the highest level.

There were also three moving pictures, one at level three and two at level four.

All the images were of girls aged between 10 and 15.

Domestic circumstances

Defence solicitor, Mark Harrower, told Sheriff Alistair Noble that Bruton had co-operated fully with the authorities since October last year and had voluntarily taken part in a government-sponsored programme for child abuse offenders.

“He is highly embarrassed and deeply ashamed of the shame he has caused his family” he said, and added that, at the time of the offences “he had been having a very stressful time at home and his judgment was affected by what was going on at the time”.

Bruton’s father, who was being looked after in the family home, would have to be placed in a care home if he was sent to prison as Bruton’s wife would be unable to cope, he added.

Mr Harrower said the social work report showed that his client acknowledged his behaviour had been unacceptable and there was no possible risk of his re-offending.

The solicitor added: “He has lost a lot in his personal and professional life”.

Sheriff Noble acknowledged that Bruton was a first offender and there had been difficult domestic circumstances in his household over a number years.

There had been a very small number of images, he said, although some had been at higher levels of the scale.

He placed him on a supervised community payback order for two years.

The sheriff also ordered Bruton to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work within a year and to register as a sex offender for two years.

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