Scotland’s top prosecutor has demanded an urgent report after a sheriff was forced to cut a Perth paedophile’s jail term by a year because of a delay by the Crown.
A man who distributed child abuse images online had his prison sentence reduced by a third because of a delay said to be the “result of human error”.
Proceedings against William Buchan were delayed for more than a year due to an oversight at the procurator fiscal’s office.
Buchan, 51, won a ruling to say the delay in the case against him had been “unfair” and the sentencing sheriff was forced to restrict how long she jailed him for.
Sheriff Fiona Tait told Buchan, who was caught sharing child abuse images with other paedophiles, that she wanted to send him to prison for three years.
But she told him that because the Crown had been responsible for a serious delay in the case she would have to limit the period he spends behind bars to 24 months.
A Crown Office spokesman confirmed that Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland the Scottish Government’s chief legal officer had launched a probe into the incident.
The spokesman said: “The Lord Advocate has asked for an urgent report from the procurator fiscal to address the delay in taking court proceedings.”
Sheriff Tait told Buchan at Perth Sheriff Court: “There was a delay in this matter being brought to court. The procurator fiscal depute said it was as a result of human error.”
Buchan, of North Methven Street, Perth, admitted distributing indecent images of children on November 2 2011.
He also admitted two further charges of having the images between August 2011 and July 2012.
The court was told that Buchan downloaded child images at various locations, including his home and his former workplace at Logan Inglis Ltd in Cumbernauld.