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Today at the High Court in Glasgow Lord Turnbull sentenced Ian Duncan to four years and four months imprisonment after he pled guilty to the possession and distribution of indecent images of children.
"The full awfulness of the activity which you were engaged in can be hidden by talking of “images”. However each so called “image” records an act of barbarity perpetrated on a live and vulnerable child or infant. Those, like you, who are willing to take possession of such images bear an indirect responsibility for the acts which are perpetrated on these young victims by creating a demand for the photographs and thus for commission of the abuse itself," said Turnbull, passing sentence.
On sentencing Lord Turnbull made the following statement in full in court:
“In order to fully comprehend the nature of the offences to which you have pled guilty it is necessary to understand the categorisation system used to identify the nature of the images which you possessed or distributed. You have pled guilty to possessing material at all 5 levels of what has come to be known as the copine scale. You have pled guilty to distributing material at levels 1 through to 4 of the same scale.
Level 4 is defined as images depicting penetrative sexual activity between children and adults.
Level 5 is defined as sadism or bestiality involving children.
You have pled guilty to possessing a total of 3,495 still and 20 moving images. Of these, 384 of the still images and 10 of the moving images were at either level 4 or level 5. Of these images, at the most serious level of the scale, 26 included images of abuse being perpetrated on infants under 3 years of age and a further 250 included images of children aged between 4 – 10 years being abused.
On the charge of distributing indecent photographs you have pled guilty to sending to others in your circle a total of 150 images. Within this total 8 were at level 4.
Of these distributed images 2 included images of abuse being perpetrated against infants aged under 3 years and the remaining 6 included images of children aged 4 – 10 years being abused.
This Court must do what it can to express the total public abhorrence for such abuse of children and do what it can to prevent repetition.
The full awfulness of the activity which you were engaged in can be hidden by talking of “images”. However each so called “image” records an act of barbarity perpetrated on a live and vulnerable child or infant. Those, like you, who are willing to take possession of such images bear an indirect responsibility for the acts which are perpetrated on these young victims by creating a demand for the photographs and thus for commission of the abuse itself.
I will take into account your previous good background, your record of work and your lack of previous convictions. I will treat these factors as mitigating the offence. I will also, as I am required to do, restrict the sentence which I will impose to reflect the fact that you pled guilty at the earliest stage.
In respect of charge 1 the maximum sentence is one of five years imprisonment. Even taking account of your background the circumstances surrounding your possession of these images renders this a serious case of its type. I am influenced by the number of images, the fact that 394 of these were at level 4 or 5 and the ages of the children concerned. I would have imposed a sentence of three years imprisonment. I will restrict this to two years to reflect your plea of guilty.
For a charge of distributing such images, as charge 2 is, the maximum sentence is 10 years imprisonment. In your case the number of images actually sent is relatively low and the number of level 4 images actually distributed is 8.
Accordingly I agree with Mr McBride that your conduct does not constitute the most serious breach of this provision. Nevertheless, I must take account of the total number of images distributed and the ages of the children concerned. In particular I take account of the fact that the images depicting penetrative abuse which you distributed included images of children under three years old.
I would have imposed a sentence of three and a half years imprisonment on this charge. I will restrict this to a period of two years and 4 months to reflect your guilty plea. These sentences will run consecutively and will date from 14 January 2008.
The total sentence is therefore one of 4 years and 4 months imprisonment”.