Jail for church group member who abused children

Perth Sheriff Court
Perth Sheriff Court

A church member who carried out sexual abuse of children over more than a decade has been jailed for 38 months.

Derek Smith continued to protest his innocence but he was found guilty by a jury after he forced his victims to relive their ordeals giving evidence during a trial.

Smith also feigned illness during the trial to disrupt proceedings and a 28-day concurrent sentence was imposed after he was found guilty of contempt of court.

The 48-year-old repeatedly carried out lewd acts on a ten year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl and has been placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

He was also made the subject of an 18-month extended sentence after his release from prison.

The jury at Perth Sheriff Court had earlier found Smith guilty of indecently assaulting the boy in Perth and Dunfermline between 1 January 2000 and 1 November 2003.

They also found him guilty of indecently assaulting the girl in Leven, Fife, in August 2010.

The trial was told Smith had been a member of a church group and had been introduced to the children by a mutual friend. He had become trusted and allowed to take the children away on trips.

The male victim, who is now in his mid 20s, told the court that Smith would carry out sex attacks on him in his family home as well as on days out around Scotland.

After the jury returned guilty verdicts on both charges, they were told Smith, of James Street, Anstruther, had previous convictions for sex crimes and had spent time in jail in the past.

Solicitor John McLaughlin, defending, told the court yesterday: “He has his own views as to his culpability. He accepts he was convicted.

“He accepts the court’s primary concern is the safety of the public. He has had a custodial sentence before so he is aware that is looming large in his life.”

Mr McLaughlin described his client as “slightly odd” and told the court Smith would be vulnerable within a prison setting.

Sheriff Fiona Tait said she had no option but to jail him for the sex crimes and added that he had “misled the court” in relation to his fake illness.