Nigel Bishop was ordered to pay over three and a half thousand pounds in total when he was sentenced this week in the Summary Court for sexual assault. He had been found guilty after a trial last month.
Prosecuting lawyer Andrew Dawson read out a Victim Impact Statement in which the victim described experiencing anxiety. Mr Dawson argued that the anxiety and distress were aggravating factors in the case.
Defence lawyer Alison Inglis described the case as a very difficult one, but put forward what she called “an incredible number” of character references in Mr Bishop’s favour, describing his community work and his efforts to give young people a chance in life. She said that the incident was “only a very small part of a very much larger picture”.
Miss Inglis also drew attention to a number of things that the probation officer had said in her pre-sentence report, including that there was “no evidence of a pattern of behaviour” and that a further incident “seems unlikely”.
Justices of the Peace had already ruled out a prison sentence as an option but, although the guidelines seemed to suggest that a community order would be appropriate, the probation officer had said that “minimal intervention” was needed and Miss Inglis argued that there would be practical difficulties about Mr Bishop being able to do unpaid work.
After considering their decision, the Justices of the Peace agreed.
Chair of the Bench Sarah Whitby explained that the offence had been serious enough for a community order, but that this would not necessarily fit with Mr Bishop’s circumstances. She said that the sentencing guidelines did allow for a fine to be imposed instead.
Mr Bishop was fined two thousand one hundred and ninety pounds. He was also ordered to pay five hundred pounds to his victim and eleven hundred pounds for prosecution costs, making a total of three thousand seven hundred and ninety pounds.