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HMA v Kieran Ali


Apr 14, 2021

At Hamilton Sheriff Court today, Sheriff Daniel Kelly QC sentenced Kieran Ashard Ali to 32 months' imprisonment after the offender pleaded guilty to sending messages of a sexual nature via social media to recipients whom he thought to be children.


On sentencing, Sheriff Kelly made the following statement in court: "You pleaded guilty at the trial diet to six charges involving sending messages of a sexual nature via social media to recipients whom you thought to be children. Unbeknown to you, the persons with whom you were communicating were adults involved in tracing individuals who were targeting children online.

The first five charges span the period from 13 May to 9 August 2019. In the first charge the online persona immediately purported that she was aged 12. In the course of several intimate conversations with her, you encouraged her to let you see her naked and raised the possibility of sending her money in order to coax her to cooperate.

The next two charges involved online personas who purported to be aged 13. You engaged in ongoing communications of a sexual nature with them and asked them to send you specific pictures of themselves, again offering to pay for them in respect of charge 3.

Charges 4 and 5 involved a fourth online persona who purported that she was aged 14. Again, you repeatedly sent her messages of a sexual nature and asked for intimate images to be shared with you. You sent a link to a sexual video, sent a still image depicting sexual positions and engaged in sexual discussions. You also suggested a meeting but were told that this was too sudden.

Thereafter, on 11 August 2019 two members of the group confronted you at work, live-streaming this on social media, at which point you said that you should have stopped. Police officers subsequently arrested, interviewed and charged you.

Despite this confrontation and the police involvement, you went on to commit charge 6 between 11 and 22 December 2019. There, the online persona purported to be aged 13. Again, you persistently asked for a certain type of photo to be sent and engaged in communications of a sexual nature. You arranged to meet this person at your house. Saying that you were scared since someone had previously pretended to be a girl, you called that off but said that you could meet another time. Shortly after, you again discussed arrangements to meet before calling that off too for the same reason. Having provided your address during the final exchanges, a number of people attended at your door and the police were again informed. On 23 December 2019 you were again arrested, interviewed and charged.

It is a mitigating factor that, aged 27, you have not previously been convicted of any offence. Although you have, therefore, never served a custodial sentence I have determined that no method of dealing with you is appropriate other than such a sentence. The reasons for that are that although the personas were not children, you operated on the assumption that they were. Had they been children your conduct could have had a long lasting impact upon them and they could have suffered significant emotional and psychological harm. Your behaviour had a pattern to it, involving the contacting of five personas. There was an element of grooming involved, applying pressure and offering inducements by way of payments. After you had been confronted and arrested in August 2019, you persisted in your conduct in December and even made reference to what had occurred before, saying that you were scared as a result of it.

The sentences imposed are modified both to take account of your guilty plea and also to take account of the overall amount, in some cases being made concurrent. The sentences in respect of the charges are:

(1)   seven months’ imprisonment (reduced from eight)

(2)   seven months’ imprisonment (reduced from eight) consecutive

(3)   seven months’ imprisonment (reduced from eight) concurrent

(4)   seven months’ imprisonment (reduced from eight) consecutive

(5)   seven months’ imprisonment (reduced from eight) concurrent

(6)   eleven months’ imprisonment (reduced from twelve) consecutive.

That is a total of 32 months’ imprisonment (reduced from thirty six), which will be back-dated to 22 March 2021. The effect of this is that you will be placed on the sex offenders’ register for an indefinite period from 22 March 2021."

14 April 2021