Man fined after sharing sex act video which ended up on social media

A 22-year-old man who was sent a graphic video of a woman performing a sex act and then shared it without her consent has been fined £500.

James Gray of Shurton Brae, Gulberwick, pleaded guilty to the offence, Lerwick Sheriff Court heard today (Wednesday).

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said it was a “particularly intimate” film of the complainant performing a sex act, which she had sent to Gray.

Mr Mackenzie said Gray then forwarded the video in August 2020 to a friend who then shared it further.

“Once it got out, he had no control of what happened to it,” he said.

After the video circulated on social media, the victim became aware of it and contacted the police.

Mr Mackenzie said Gray had co-operated with the police and made a full admission.

He said it would be for the court to decide whether there was a sufficiently sexual aspect to the offence to warrant Gray being  placed on the sex offenders register.

He said it was difficult to think of why anyone would share the video other than for humiliation or for others to obtain sexual gratification.

Defence agent Tommy Allan, however, urged against placing his client on the register.

Mr Allan pointed out the video had been sent to Gray by the complainant; rather than made by himself.

He said Gray had sent it to a friend via the Snapchat app, which deletes videos after a single view.

However, unbeknown to Gray, Mr Allan said the friend had taken a video of the film on another phone.

That friend then shared the video to another and it ended up on social media.

It was only after a period of several months that Gray realised the video was in the public domain.

Mr Allan said his client had been “shocked” to find out about its existence on social media.

While acknowledging an offence had been committed in sharing the video, which was “certainly less than chivalrous”, he argued it was not intended to humiliate the victim.

He compared it to “locker room banter in the digital age”.

“It was bragging, it was not intended to humiliate,” he said.

“It’s indiscreet and it’s not gentlemanly but it does not suggest that Gray is someone who the public need to be protected from.”

Mr Allan asked Sheriff Iain Cruickshank to bear in mind his client’s previous good character and the stigma he would face from being on the register.

Sheriff Cruickshank agreed the intention of the crime did not warrant being placed on the sex offenders register.

He fined Gray £500, to be paid within a month.

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