Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Ex-health chief jailed over porn

Tom Skinner
Skinner was jailed for two and a half years

A former senior health officer who admitted child porn charges has been jailed for two and a half years.

Tom Skinner, 63, of Midlem, near Selkirk, admitted being in possession of the images on his home computer between January and July last year.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond said the crime was aggravated by the fact it had been committed while Skinner was already on the sex offenders register.

A sexual offences prevention order was also granted at Selkirk Sheriff Court.

The order stipulates that Skinner should not be allowed to approach anyone under 16 years of age unless supervised by an adult.

He has not used the computer since he has been charged, nor will he use it in future
Roy Harley, defending

It also gives police extra powers to monitor him on his release.

The former administrator of Borders Health Board and NHS Borders was placed on the sex offenders register earlier this month.

Sheriff Drummond said: "It is a significant feature of this case that the offences were committed while the accused was already subject to a sex offenders order.

"That order was imposed in May 2003 when you were fined 2,000 following conviction for a similar offence."

He added that Skinner's attitude towards the material was "ambivalent to say the least", believing they were harmless as the children did not appear to suffer distress.

The sheriff said he had shown a "complete failure" to understand the sexual exploitation of the children in the images.

Defence lawyer Roy Harley had asked that community service be considered as an alternative to a jail term.

Low risk

He pointed out that more than half of the images were at the least serious end of the scale.

"He has not used the computer since he has been charged, nor will he use it in future," said Mr Harley.

"He has suffered depression since being charged and has sought professional counselling.

"He is placed in low category in a risk of re-offending."

However, Sheriff Drummond said he had "crossed the custody threshold and required imprisonment".

Ex-health officer on sex register
20 Oct 08 |  South of Scotland
Man guilty on child porn charges
25 Aug 08 |  South of Scotland

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