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Court / Sentence deferred on child images charge

A MAN from Lerwick who admitted downloading over 21,000 indecent photos and videos of children will be sentenced in December.

Ross Robert Morrison, of Burgh Road, pleaded guilty at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday to “taking or permitting to be taken” the images at an address in Lerwick on or between 3 December 2016 and 16 January 2018.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told the court that the images and videos spanned all of the categories of classification.

He said the offence came to light after police undertook a search warrant at the 46-year-old’s address, with officers finding indecent images of children on a laptop which they had seized.

Morrison admitted the device was his and “reiterated that his partner was completely oblivious” to his actions.

Mackenzie said images and videos recovered were both described as “accessible and inaccessible”, with the latter meaning they had been deleted.

The images and videos covered the three classifications A, B and C, with A being the most serious.

Most of the images and videos were category C, with over 21,000 inaccessible images found in that classification as well as nearly 300 inaccessible videos.

There were no ‘accessible’ images or videos in category A or B, but there were 15 inaccessible category A pictures and three videos.

Mackenzie said all of the images and videos found contained girls, with some as young as five years old, adding that Morrison had frequented a Russian image website.

With criminal justice social work reports due to be prepared, defence agent Tommy Allan said he would give representation when the matter next called at court.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said Morrison would be subject to notification requirements under the sexual offences act and warned him that there is “only one likely outcome” when he is sentenced.

The sheriff said the issue of bail had to be determined by legal principle and not “emotive public opinion”, and he continued Morrison’s bail ahead of his next appearance on 5 December.

Sheriff Cruickshank also granted a crown request to forfeit the laptop seized by police.