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Lawyer showed film of child sex abuse victim playing

The child's dad said the use of the video was 'disrespectful' during the trial.

Daniel appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court.
Daniel appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court. PA Images

Child abuser Christopher Daniel's lawyer played a video during his trial which showed the young victim playing with her family.

Solicitor advocate Simon Whyte used the short video - found on social media - as part of the defence case.

It showed the girl, along with several other child relatives, innocently playing with their grandfather on his birthday.

Whyte then questioned the girl's dad about it during the three-day trial which resulted in Daniel being found guilty of sexual assault at Dumbarton Sheriff Court then given an 'absolute discharge'.

The dad said the use of the video was "disrespectful".

He said: "He seemed to be suggesting she was clumsy, climbing over people and not aware of doing it - presumably in order to support the position taken by Christopher Daniel that if there had been any touching it was innocent and not deliberate or sexual.

"Obviously that was the difference. This video was completely innocent - there was no touching of private parts.

"I totally understand that he's trying to get his client off, he's got to try something

"I was not angry - I just found it to be in extremely poor taste."

'He seemed to be suggesting she was clumsy, climbing over people and not aware of doing it...'
Girls's dad

The case has renewed calls for how the criminal justice system treats child sex abuse cases.

There were problems from the outset as Police Scotland's recorded interview with the girl failed although the police said this had no detrimental impact.

Daniel pleaded not guilty at Dumbarton Sheriff Court which meant his victim had to give evidence for around two hours via CCTV from another room.

At the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, MSPs debated the Vulnerable Witnesses Bill.

It comes as Holyrood's justice committee last week urged justice secretary Humza Yousaf to adopt a pioneering Scandinavian approach.

In Norway and other countries, children give pre-recorded evidence in a single interview to specially-trained officers at centres away from police stations and courts.

The dad said: "The fact he pleaded not guilty and dragged myself, my wife and daughter through court - to be found guilty and not even to get a slap on the wrist I think is the worst part.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1435154-scotland-tonight-fiery-debate-over-child-abuse-reasoning/ | default

"It's a worrying thing for a father that your daughter's gone through that and she's got no justice."

Sandy Brindley, chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: "I think it's clear from this case and from others that much more still needs to be done around how we respond to vulnerable witnesses, in particular children in sexual abuse cases.

"I think we need to take every step we can to minimise the trauma to children in these circumstances and to their families and to make sure that questioning is appropriate."

A spokesman for Whyte's firm Beltrami & Co said it would "not be appropriate to effectively rerun the trial in the media".

He added: "However, the criticisms by the prosecution witnesses are unfounded.

"All of the evidence led, and all of the questions asked were legitimate and necessary to present a full picture of our client's defence to the court, and to highlight material discrepancies in the prosecution case.

"This case was conducted with care and professionalism throughout. All defence productions were lodged with the court and copied to the prosecution in advance of the trial.

"No objection was taken by the Crown at any point to any question by the defence."

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