Cooper v Procurator Fiscal, Aberdeen

Sentencing – Sexual assault – Requirement to register as sex offender. Sheriff Appeal Court: Allowing an appeal against sentence by an appellant who was convicted of a contravention of s 3 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (sexual assault) and was fined £300, the court held that the sheriff erred in not taking into account the effect of the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003: in cases where the legislature had imposed automatic registration requirements which varied according to the sentence passed, the period and consequences of the requirements were relevant considerations in the sentencing exercise and should be taken into account. In circumstances where parties did not challenge the sheriff's description of this offence as falling at the lower end of the scale and as not being sufficiently serious to justify a community payback order the requirement to register as a sex offender for a 5-year period, which automatically followed from the imposition of a fine, was unnecessary for the purposes of public protection and had a disproportionately penal effect on the appellant. The sentence the sheriff imposed would be quashed and a community payback order would be substituted with an offender supervision requirement for a period of 6 months.

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