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Abuse sentence reduced on appeal

BBC Scotland News, 07/01/2004

BBC Scotland should understand that John Porteous has never appealed his convictions and instead used a loophole in the law to gain a reduction in sentence! Iain Wilson's article in the Herald 07/01/2004 explains this in detail.

A former children's home worker who was jailed for abusing boys in his care has had his jail sentence cut.

John Porteous, 70, was originally sentenced to eight years in prison for sex offences against two boys at a home in Renfrewshire.

After the Crown conceded that his convictions on two of the four charges should not stand, Porteous was given a reduced prison term of five years.

Porteous worked at a Quarriers children's home in the 1960s and 1970s.

Two boys claimed that he abused them in a tower which overlooked the Quarriers Village site in Bridge of Weir.

Indecency charges

Porteous was originally convicted of two charges of lewd and libidinous behaviour and two charges of shameless indecency at the High Court in Glasgow in 2002.

He appealed against his convictions on the two counts of shameless indecency.

At the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh, the Crown conceded the challenge in the wake of a previous appeal court ruling which effectively did away with that charge.

His counsel, Herbert Kerrigan QC, argued that following the concession there was "room for considerable reduction in sentence".

He pointed out that Porteous was aged 69 when he was convicted and that he had not been in trouble in the 25 years since the offences.

Significant sentence

Mr Kerrigan said that Porteous had been held in high esteem in the community.

The Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill, who heard the appeal with Lady Cosgrove and Lord Wheatley, said they accepted that the sentence imposed on Porteous should be reduced.

But Lord Gill said the remaining two charges were grave offences.

He said: "They were committed by him at a time when he had a serious responsibility of care in relation to children who were already disadvantaged."

The appeal judges said that while the sentence on Porteous should be cut, he should still have a significant sentence for the remaining charges.

In April, evidence casting doubt on Porteous' convictions was uncovered by the BBC's Frontline Scotland programme.

It revealed accounts from other people who were in care at the time, who believe the allegations against Porteous were unfounded.

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