A sex offender described by social workers as being a “high risk” of reoffending avoided a jail sentence after a sheriff gave him “one final chance” to change his behaviour.
Sheriff Charles Macnair told David John Barrie, of Dundee, that a community payback order with supervision and engagement with the Tay Project would be more likely to assist in rehabilitating him than a “relatively short” custodial sentence.
Barrie, 33, who breached the sex offenders register just two months after being released from prison, was placed on a community payback order (CPO) with three years’ supervision, 135 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to engage with the Tay Project.
He had previously admitted being in the company of a 16-year-old girl on a number of occasions between July and September while subject to a condition prohibiting contact with anyone under the age of 17.
Dundee Sheriff Court heard monitoring officers attended Barrie’s house for a weekly check-up on September 4 and he told them he had been drinking with the female the previous evening.
Depute fiscal Charmaine Gilmartin told the court: “He told police he didn’t know how old she was but police were concerned and carried out the investigation.
“The 16-year-old said she had gone to the house on September 3 and initially she wasn’t allowed to go in by the accused because he was aware he was prevented from having contact with anyone 17 or younger.
“The female said she had consumed alcohol with him.”
“The witness intimated she had attended the address about six times over a two-month period.
“She has never been on her own but always when other females have been present, but alcohol had been taken.
“She said the accused was aware of her age,” she added.
Defence solicitor David Duncan had told the court previously that Barrie admitted she had been in his house two or three times.
He said: “He accepts that alcohol was taken and that in itself was inappropriate given the girl’s age, but it did not go beyond that in terms of further inappropriate behaviour.”
Mr Duncan told the court Barrie was subject to the banning order for a further four years and appealed to the sheriff to impose a non-custodial sentence as his client now had more insight into his offending and showed “a higher level of understanding in this report than he has done in the past”.
He told the sheriff that two reports showed he was regarded as a “high risk” of reoffending but said: “If he breaches a new CPO, he can simply be imprisoned and be subject to the same order when he comes out. That would address his status as a high-risk offender.
“Prison won’t affect the risk he has of reoffending it would get him out of the way and he’d come out still at a high risk.”
Sheriff Macnair told Barrie: “I’ve got a choice between a relatively short period of custody or imposing a CPO which, if it works, is more likely to rehabilitate you.
“As custody doesn’t change your behaviour albeit a CPO didn’t change it before I’m prepared to give you another chance in the hope that that will change your behaviour.”
He placed Barrie on a three-year community payback order under supervision and ordered him to work with the Tay Project on its Moving Forward, Making Changes initiative.
He also ordered him to undertake 135 hours of unpaid work.