Perverted Johnstone man dodges prison after being convicted of sex attack

A man who groped a reveller at his neighbours’ flat-warming party has been spared a jail sentence.

Alexander Christopher Edward Orchard, of South William Street, forced himself on the man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, while the victim slept in a bedroom at the flat.

Orchard, 32, and his boyfriend had been invited to the flat-warming of their new neighbours in August 2019.

Once there, he went on to sexually assault one of the partygoers.

However, Orchard told his Paisley Sheriff Court trial that he feared the man may have been choking on vomit in his sleep – and acted as a hero.

He said he had touched the man’s genitals and shaken him to make sure he wasn’t dead, as a friend of his had suffered that sad fate.

Court papers claimed Orchard touched him “on the body sexually” and he was also said to have performed a sex act on a second alleged victim on the same occasion.

Orchard, who works as a customer experience manager for an electronics company, admitted he had gone into the room the first man was sleeping in and touched his private parts but claimed it was an innocent act.

He said: “I heard this strange sort of gargling, snoring sound. I wanted to make sure he was okay.

“I had a school friend who, in his last year of university, choked on his own vomit and died.

“It was the fact he was making this strange noise from his throat. I wanted to check he was okay and breathing properly.

“I touched his thigh and shook it, on top of the blanket. I shook it and he woke up.”

Orchard said he was “completely dumbfounded” when the allegation of sexual assault was made.

“It wasn’t my intention to assault him,” he added.

He denied entering the bedroom the second man was in and performing a sex act on him, calling that alleged victim’s claims “a fabrication.”

Sheriff Hugh McGinty convicted him over the sexual assault of the first man, while finding the charge of sexually assaulting the second man not proven.

He called for background reports ahead of sentencing and adjourned the case until this week.

Orchard, who has two previous convictions for domestic abuse, could have been jailed for up to a year for the offence.

But, after hearing that he was due to be married, had a good work ethic and employment history and would suffer from “social stigma” because he is now a registered sex offender, Sheriff McGinty instead placed him on a Community Payback Order.

This will see him carrying out 160 hours of unpaid work over the next nine months and being supervised by social workers for the next two years.

Orchard was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for two years and has to return to court in April for a review of his progress on the Community Payback Order.