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Sheriff questions 'insight and empathy' of Moray sex offender Kenneth Hird

By Alistair Whitfield

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Sheriff David Harvie.
Sheriff David Harvie.

A Sheriff has criticised a Moray man who downloaded over 170 videos of children and animals being abused for his "lack of insight and empathy".

Sheriff David Harvie stopped short of jailing Kenneth Hird of Alexandra Road, Keith who had distributed some of his sordid collection to another individual.

Sentence had been deferred previously at Inverness Sheriff Court for a background report on the 29-year-old.

Commenting on the content of that report, Sheriff Harvie said: "There is quite a lot of minimisation peppered throughout. I wish there were signs of some insight in it."

Defence solicitor Patrick O'Dea said that Hird, of his own choice, had attended a 10-week programme which helps to guide sex offenders away from accessing child abuse imagery.

The lawyer added: "He realises there are victims here."

But Sheriff Harvie told Hird: "I am sceptical that you have insight and empathy and I am concerned with the risk assessment in the report."

Sheriff Harvie placed the defendant on the sex offenders register for three years and ordered him to remain under the supervision of social workers for the same period.

During that time, Hird must participate in another more intense programme for sex offenders called 'Moving Forward Making Changes'.

No unpaid hours of community work were added because Hird was assessed as not suitable.

Sheriff Harvie added: "I am not sending you to jail partly because you have accepted guilt at an early stage and the report says that some progress can be made with you.

"But I want to keep an eye on you . There will be a review of your progress and participation in three months' time."

Hird was ordered to return to court on December 6.

At a previous hearing, the court heard that, as well as the videos which ran to more than 18 hours in length, Hird also had 398 photographs of varying degrees of depravity.

The material were obtained over a two-year period between March 4, 2020 and April 20, 2022.

Police obtained a search warrant after Hird uploaded a compilation of the videos online.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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