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Appeal Against Decision to Sustain Plea in Bar Refused


The Crown appealed under the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) act, section 74 against a Sheriff’s decision to sustain a plea in bar of trial based upon the entrapment of the appellant. P, the appellant in this case has been speaking to an undercover officer on an online chat room. The undercover officer was posing as a woman over the age of 16, with 14 year old daughter. The undercover officer attempted to engage him in sexual conversation regarding the 14 year old. However, after this conversation P did not mention the child again and mentioned that he had never been involved sexually with children. P had been charged with attempting to engage in sexual activity with a minor.

The Sheriff at the first instance concluded there was no evidence of this and sustained the plea in bar of trial lodged by the defence. The Crown appealed.

The High Court of Judiciary concluded that there was no evidence that P expressed any sexual interest in children and it was the undercover officer that introduced the discussion of sexual activity with a child. The appeal was therefore refused. The High Court ruled the Sheriff was entitled to come to the conclusion that he had come to and the case will not be retried.

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