A man who admitted grabbing a stranger’s buttock in a Dundee supermarket has been told he is “lucky” the sexual element of the offence has been dropped.
Scott Baillie, of Kenmore Terrace, pleaded guilty to assault when he appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court.
The 51-year-old had initially been charged with sexually assaulting the woman under the Sexual Offences Scotland Act 2009 but pleaded guilty to an amended charge.
He admitted that on September 9 last year, at Tesco Express, Nethergate, he assaulted the woman by seizing her buttock.
Sentencing Baillie, Sheriff Alastair Brown said he thought Baillie was “lucky” the sexual element of the offence had been removed.
He said: “I have the greatest difficulty understanding how it can possibly be that grabbing the buttocks of a woman who is unknown to you in a public place can be anything other a sexual assault.
“However, it appears from a separate report I have before me, that the appeal court does make a distinction, and the procurator fiscal has accepted a plea of guilty, with the deletion of all sexual elements.
“I think you are very lucky that has been done.
“Let it be very clear that you have to keep your hands off of people, and having had too much to drink is nothing to do with it. You keep your hands to yourself.”
Baillie was given a community payback order of 180 hours of unpaid work, as a direct alternative to imprisonment, to be carried out in nine months.
In 2015, it was successfully argued at the High Court in Edinburgh, during a sentencing appeal in a similar case, that a man who had been convicted of sexual assault had in fact only committed assault.
The offender had come up behind the woman and grabbed her buttocks with both hands, while she was dancing in a nightclub in Dalkeith.
In the ruling, the three appeal judges noted that “seizing the complainer’s buttocks with both hands, while clearly to be condemned and clearly amounting to a common law assault, does not seem to us to have a sufficiently large sexual component to bring the Sexual Offences Scotland Act 2009 into operation”.
It was stated the incident was “drink-fuelled rather than overtly sexual”.