A hospital-based scientist who was caught with a haul of child abuse material has been placed on the sex offenders register and banned from being alone with under-18s.
University biomedical scientist Connor Sword, who is working on a short-term contract at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Sword, who was caught after police raided his home, was placed under social work supervision for two years at Dundee Sheriff Court on Friday.
The 27-year-old was also made subject to a conduct requirement that bans him from solo contact with children and restricts his internet use.
Sword had claimed he may have downloaded the graphic material without realising what it was but his solicitor said he now accepted what he had done.
Solicitor Jamie Baxter told the court: “He was at a very low point in his life. He made a number of inappropriate searches on his computer which led to the material being obtained.
“He maintains he is not particularly attracted to children but accepts he made these searches.
“It is not the case that he denies making the searches and downloading the images. The trouble was that he was not able to admit that. Principally he was embarrassed.
“He has got his life back on track, to an extent. He works at Ninewells Hospital. At present he is working from home.”
He said Sword had been in a relationship and was considering getting married but no longer believed that would happen after his partner found out about his illegal collection.
Sword, of Lethendy, Perth, admitted downloading indecent images of children at his home between May 20 and July 14 2019. Police experts analysed his computer equipment and discovered he had been making Google searches specifically for child sexual material.
Fiscal depute Marie Irvine told the court: “Confidential information was received by the police that there may be indecent material at the address. A search warrant was sought and executed.”
She said officers recovered several devices and more than 300 indecent images – including some at the most graphic end of the scale – were found.
She added: “Activity showed Google search terms which suggested the creation of said images on the device was not by accident.
“His position was that he did not knowingly download indecent images of children, that he downloads numerous files, and indecent images of children may have been downloaded among other files.”
Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown placed him on the sex offenders register for two years and imposed the raft of measures as a direct alternative to custody.