Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Mother 'knew about under-age sex'

Duns Sheriff Court - Crown copyright image
Balfour appeared before Sheriff Kevin Drummond at Duns Sheriff Court

A mother who allowed her 14-year-old daughter to have sex with her boyfriend in the family home has claimed she was trying to protect her.

The woman, who cannot be named, wrote to a local newspaper to defend her actions after details emerged during a court case at Duns Sheriff Court.

Daniel Balfour, 22, was placed on the sex offenders register after admitting having under-age sex with the girl.

The mother said her actions meant she had some control over the situation.

Balfour's lawyer had told the court his client was allowed to stay at the girl's house in a Berwickshire village, three or four nights a week.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond deferred sentence until January and placed Balfour on the sex offenders register for five years.

A parent has neglected her responsibility for the welfare of her child
Bill Aitken
Conservative justice spokesman

The mother's attitude has caused concern among politicians, who said she should have called in police when she first became aware that the couple were having a sexual relationship.

South of Scotland SNP MSP Christine Grahame said: "This is completely outrageous.

"There is a major difference to not knowing and consenting to your 14-year-old daughter having sex.

"This girl is in need of care and protection from her mother's values, which appear to be upside down.

"The male has been dealt with by the court and rightly so.

"The issue here is the mother's consent to this and knowingly having a sexual relationship in the house."

Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken said "I find this woman's attitude astonishing.

I felt I was between a rock and a hard place
The mother

"It is for her to influence and indeed control her daughter's behaviour.

"The girl is only 14 for heaven's sake.

"This is quite a depressing story where a parent has neglected her responsibility for the welfare of her child."

But in a letter to a newspaper, the mother said: "Do you know what your 14-year-old daughter is doing? Well I do."

She said she had tried to stop the relationship on many occasions but it had carried on behind her back.

"As many mothers know, you can't lock a 14-year-old in their room until they are 16," she said.

"After finding out the lad was 22, I did all I could to get them to end the relationship as did her father.

'Joint decision'

"It was a joint decision to let the relationship continue, not just mine.

"I would rather know where my daughter is and who she is with than have her running around the streets getting into trouble."

The woman insisted she was trying to protect her child.

"As much as I didn't like the situation, I felt that by keeping them close, I could monitor the situation rather than them running away behind my back," she said.

"This is a young girl who met him and thinks she is in love.

"Tell me what I should do? I felt I was between a rock and a hard place."

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