A man who sexually abused a young child when he was a teenager has avoided jail.
Lee Weir, 31, from Aberdeen, committed the offence, involving the five-year-old girl, in 2003 or 2004 when he was 13 or 14.
Lord Uist said it was “serious and disgusting” abuse which deeply impacted the girl’s life.
However, the judge told the High Court in Edinburgh that he was satisfied a non-custodial disposal could be made.
Instead, he imposed a two-year community payback order on Weir – with 300 hours of unpaid work to be carried out, a supervision order, and a requirement to undertake an offender programme.
Advocate depute Jane Farquharson QC said the victim did not disclose to anyone what had happened at the time.
In later life she revealed to a relative that she had been abused as a child.
‘Sadness and regret’
The court heard that Weir also revealed to a woman that he had abused the girl and said he wanted to go to the police as he felt ashamed and embarrassed.
However, it was a member of the victim’s family who contacted police last year and Weir was arrested the following day.
Defence counsel Edith Forrest said it was “an unusual case” and argued that Weir could be dealt with by a non-custodial sentence.
She said he had pled guilty and accepted responsibility for his actions.
She pointed to the age of Weir at the time of the abuse and said he had not come to the attention of the authorities for any further sexual offending.
“He has become a responsible member of society,” she said, adding that Weir felt “desperate sadness and regret” at how he had behaved.
The court heard that Weir was assessed as posing a low risk of sexual offending.
The judge noted: “Normally a plea of guilty to such an offence would without question result in a prison sentence.”
Weir was placed on the sex offenders register for five years.