Man with binoculars put on sex offender register

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A man found guilty of using binoculars to watch a two-year-old girl has been ordered to complete 200 hours of a community pay back order and register as a sex offender for five years.

Kevin Hobbs, 32, appeared before Oban Sheriff Court on Wednesday November 4, for sentence having been found guilty at a trial last month.

Hobbs, formerly of 11 Croft Avenue, Oban, and now of 69 West Princes Street, Helensburgh, had denied behaving in a threatening and abusive manner which was likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear and alarm.

It related to an incident in Oban on June 1 where he was accused of having loitered at a bedroom window and used binoculars to observe a two-year-old girl who was playing her garden in a state of undress.

At the trial last month, the court was told that both parents described spotting him watching them from inside a house nearby.

When he realised he had been seen he ‘jumped to one side and hid,’ the court heard. The mother told the trial: ‘I felt shocked. I was concerned he was looking at my child’. The father had gone to the house to confront him.

Hobbs had elected not to give evidence at the trial but had told police he was looking for the family cat. However Sheriff Patrick Hughes found him guilty of the charge.

Hobbs’ solicitor, Michael Sweeney, told the sentencing hearing: ‘He maintains he was not guilty of the offence but accepts the court’s decision. Mr Hobbs’ position is that he was not behaving in that manner.

Hobbs had taken alcohol on the day of the offence and was working with different agencies on offender management and alcohol consumption, added Mr Sweeney.

Sheriff Hughes said the offence was ‘deeply concerning’ to the parents.

The ‘threshold’ for custody had been passed, he said, and it was ‘very concerning’ that the offence had been committed while Hobbs was already subject to a community punishment order and signing the Sex Offender’s Register.

That related to a previous conviction from December 2019 and concerned the possession of thousands of indecent images of predominately female children aged between nine and 15.

Sheriff Hughes told the accused: ‘The use of binoculars denotes looking at the child in particular detail. I am satisfied that there was a significant sexual nature to this with a young child wearing shorts and a t-shirt.’

Hobbs is required to complete the community pay back order within 18 months.