Horror at Sheriff’s rejection of report

A court decision to throw out a pre-sentence report on a sex
offender because it was written by two female social workers has
been attacked by Shetland Islands Council’s director of community

Jacqui Watt, who has responsibility for education and social work,
said the department was “shocked and horrified by the decision”.

“Not only does it undermine the credibility and professionalism of
our staff, but where will this lead?” she asked.

The report was written about a man who admitted drilling holes in
walls and spying on a girl from the age of nine to 16, who he later
detained against her will.

But a sheriff who heard the case at Glasgow High Court last month
dismissed the report and ordered another one to be completed by
Aberdeen Council, with at least one male author.

Denise Morgan, criminal justice service manager at Shetland, warned
that the ruling could have implications for how reports were
produced in the future. “A person’s gender does not come into
professional assessment as it is based on values and knowledge,”
she said.

She plans to write to the Scottish executive to obtain guidance on
the case. The case is due to be heard in court again next month.

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