February 2015

Man who admitted being caught with sickening stash of indecent images escapes prison sentence 

Michael Hamilton, 47, admitted possessing pseudo-photographs of children on his mobile phone whilst at his work place in Irvine’s Amer Sports UK Ltd, Crompton Way, North Newmoor Industrial Estate, and elsewhere between February 3 and February 9 last year.

He also admitted possessing the images between March 15, 2013 and March 14, 2014 at McDowall Place, Ardrossan.

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard how Hamilton was detained from his place of work by police on an unrelated matter on February 14 and taken to Saltcoats Police Office to await interview.

At this time his mobile phone was seized. On February 27, his phone was examined by the Computer Examination and Technical Support Unit of Police Scotland.

Two still images of an indecent nature, rated as level 4 and level 1, were uncovered from his home. Police in possession of a warrant searched Hamilton’s home on March 11.

A laptop found sitting in the living room was seized and examined. At the conclusion of the search, Hamilton was taken to Saltcoats Police Office where he gave “no comment” answers to questions put to him.

Between the phone and laptop, a total of 50 indecent images and five moving images were recovered. Their overall creation dates were between March 15, 2013 and February 9, 2014.

No specific search items were recovered from the laptop. However, there was evidence to support that Hamilton had visited a website known to host indecent images.

Some of the images described in court were too graphic to publish.

Hamilton previously appeared at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court in January and pled guilty.

He returned to court on Monday (February 23) after the preparation of his social work report.

Defence solicitor Lena Docherty told the court how this was Hamilton’s first court appearance and he had never been involved in the criminal justice system.

She added how Hamilton still lives with his wife and adult son.

Miss Docherty revealed that Hamilton has been in employment for all his life and is still employed with Amer Sports as a team leader, a position he has held for the last nine years.

She argued that a period of supervision and unpaid work could be an option due to Hamilton being assessed in the report as a “low risk” and unlikely to re-offend.

Miss Docherty insisted that a community-based order would provide him with support and counselling and if Sheriff McDonald did impose a custodial sentence then it would be Hamilton’s wife and son who would suffer the most.

Persuaded by Miss Docherty’s argument, Sheriff McDonald said: “Mr Hamilton these are very serious matters. “I have to consider the number of images the total number I believe were 50 still images and five moving images. “That falls into the low category. What I consider is the risk assessment in the social worker’s report and they believe they can work with you and it would be to the community’s benefit if you undertook this work.”

Hamilton was sentenced to three years supervision and ordered to perform 200 hours unpaid work. He was also placed on the Sex Offender’s Register for the period of his supervision.