Trusted pal convicted of historic Soroba sex crimes

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A man  guilty of historic sex crimes against two young Soroba brothers when he was a teenager has been warned jail is ‘very likely’.

Colin Carnie, 50, of Flat 3-2, 43 Gorget Avenue, Glasgow, was put on the sex offenders’ register and allowed bail at the end of a two-day trial last week for a criminal justice social services report to be prepared. He will be back at Oban Sheriff Court on September 24 to face sentencing.

Jurors  found Carnie guilty of two charges of using lewd, indecent and libinous practices and behaviour towards the brothers in their bedroom back in the 1980s.

When Carnie was interviewed by police last March, more than three decades after the offences, he said he did not know the brothers or their mother, had never been to or entered their house and denied any sexual activity with the boys. He told police: ‘I know nothing about it.’ And he told the court last week: ‘I don’t recognise them at all.’

But the court heard from both the complainers and their mother how Carnie, although eight years older than the youngest boy, had been a trusted friend who was made welcome at their family home in the close-knit community, frequently visiting and staying for meals and sleep-overs.

‘The last thing on my mind 30 years ago was that someone was hurting my young child,’ said the mother, telling the court she was devastated at not being able to protect him at the time.

Giving evidence, the younger brother, now in his 40s, said he had been ‘pointed at’ and sworn to secrecy by Carnie every time he was abused by him.

He described how his life had spiralled downwards and, in his teens, how he turned to drugs to self-medicate before eventually getting counselling help a few years ago to tackle what had triggered his difficulties.

‘It was part of my therapy to release myself from this demon,’ he said, adding that going to the police was ‘the only remedy’. He has been clean of smoking cannabis since.

Jurors also heard from the older complainer who said he too had been subjected to Carnie’s behaviour but would leave the bedroom when it happened a lot, leaving Carnie and his little brother alone. ‘I feel extremely guilty,’ he said. ‘I just remember being disgusted because I knew it was wrong. I refused and he got my brother to do it instead.’ He said he had tried to shut out what happened until his brother spoke out about it.

Carnie’s solicitor Graham Bryson suggested he was just trying to back up his brother’s story and that the youngest one had ‘over the years’ convinced himself something had happened, without ever being contradicted by police or counsellors.

‘I have memories ingrained that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. I can tell you with 100 per cent certainty that this happened and nothing will change that.’

Procurator fiscal Eoin McGinty said: ‘The brothers have not made it up. This is something they have been waiting to shout from the rooftops for 30 years.’

After the verdicts, Sheriff Simon Fraser was handed a record of Carnie’s previous convictions that post-dated the offences heard last week. The sheriff said they were ‘serious’ and were of ‘the same character’ of the offences he had just been convicted of.

Sheriff Fraser told Carnie to ‘be under no illusion’ because the charges against the Soroba brothers were historical. ‘These were committed against very young children. A custodial sentence might not be inevitable but it’s very likely,’ he said.