Tayside and Central Scotland

Tayside Police detective made 'depraved' calls

Iain Ledger
Image caption Iain Ledger may have prejudiced "sensitive" inquiries, the court heard

A police family protection officer who made "depraved" phone calls to a chatline describing sex acts with a child has avoided being sent to jail.

Iain Ledger, 47, was placed on probation after making 11 calls to a telephone chat service.

A sheriff said his actions may have prejudiced "sensitive" inquiries by Tayside Police.

Ledger, who admitted the offence, was also ordered to undertake a sex offenders group programme.

The detective constable, from Dundee, was working at Tayside Police's family protection unit when he made the calls.

He was described as a "well-respected" officer.

Defence solicitor David Holmes said Ledger had been suspended from duty by Tayside Police.

His lawyer told Dundee Sheriff Court that Ledger had been struggling with the "highly traumatic" nature of his work when he made the calls.

Chatline calls

But Sheriff Richard Davidson said his calls had been for "sexual gratification" and had "brought shame on his force".

The offences occurred between 5 November and 12 December 2010.

Ledger's calls were discovered after a moderator on a gay chatline reported an inappropriate reference to a child in a recorded message the police officer left after a work night out.

An investigation found recordings of 11 one-to-one conversations with other males on the chatline in which Ledger described sexual activity against a child.

Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie told the court that Ledger, who had more than 20 years' service with the force, had been drinking the night his message was left but was "by no means drunk" according to colleagues.

The court heard that colleagues had recognised Ledger's voice when the recording of the calls were played to them.

Asked by Sheriff Richard Davidson whether the subject matter of the calls was "largely fantasy", Ms Gillespie replied: "We have no information to say that these things happened."

Ledger's defence solicitor told the court: "It appears that within the police there are no measures to manage the emotional pressures of those working in the family protection department.

"He was hard working and seen as a solid officer. He is still at a loss to explain his actions."

Sheriff Davidson ordered Ledger to produce itemised phone bills every three months and allow social workers unannounced access to his computers.

He said: "You have brought shame on your family and your colleagues at Tayside Police.

"My worst fear is that you may have prejudiced sensitive enquiries as you can no longer be a credible witness.

"This is a considerable personal tragedy for you but it is not my intention to send you to prison today."

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