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PF v Daniel Hooton


Jan 24, 2023

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court today, Sheriff Matthew Auchincloss sentenced Daniel Hooton to a Community Payback Order with two years' supervision after he was found guilty of three charges of sexual assault on young people.

On Sentencing, Sheriff Auchincloss said:

"Daniel Hooton, you were found guilty after trial on summary complaint of three charges of sexual assault on young people.   Two were 15 years old at the time of the offences, the third 16 years old.  The offences themselves took place over a five month period in 2019, at several locations, while you were an Assistant Scout Leader, aged 28, and the young people all Young Scout Leaders.  This means that in both age and rank within the Scouts you were senior to them.  That is a fact you did not recognise when you gave evidence at trial nor when you were interviewed for the Criminal Justice Social Work Report the court now has.  Your course of conduct ranged from touching the young peoples’ bare skin, hugging them, stroking their bodies and legs, to pinning one against a wall and kissing her neck for a prolonged period of time.

These young people had looked up to you as an Assistant Scout Leader.  All of them had known you for some time as they grew up and progressed through the Scouts.  This placed you in a position of trust.  Your actions betrayed that trust and will have a lasting impact on these young people and their families. 

I have taken account of all that has been said on your behalf by Mr Crosbie, the Criminal Justice Social Work Report and the diagnostic report by Connect to Autism.  You do not accept any responsibility for these offences.  You have not demonstrated any remorse or insight into how these offences will have affected these young people.  Rather, to the writer of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report, you suggest the young people targeted you and colluded together.

I consider, that in these circumstances, the threshold for a custodial sentence has been crossed.  However, as you are both a first offender and being sentenced on summary complaint, you cannot be sent to prison unless the court considers that no other method of dealing with you is appropriate.  You have a good education and work record.  Your well paid job has been lost as a result of your conviction.  You have stable accommodation and family support.   The Criminal Justice Social Work Report suggests that you would be vulnerable in a custodial setting and the risk assessment concludes that you are suitable for a community disposal. 

I am persuaded that there is an appropriate way of dealing with you other than a custodial sentence.  That there is an alternative to custody does not diminish the courts disapproval of your offending behaviour.   I am proposing to impose Community Payback Order with a requirement of supervision for a period of two years on each charge.   This means you will engage with those supervising you for the purpose of your rehabilitation and so reduce the likelihood of further offending.  You are not assessed as suitable for unpaid work.   If you fail to comply with the requirement that is being imposed in this Order, you will be reported back to this court and can be dealt with for that failure.  If it is proved that you failed to comply without reasonable excuse with the terms the requirement, the court can revoke the order and deal with you as if the order had not been made.

You will remain subject to the notification requirements set out in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for the duration of the Order."