John Smart, Former Holyrood Candidate, Jailed For Child Sex Abuse

John Smart Holyrood

First Posted: 17/01/12 12:47 Updated: 17/01/12 12:47   PA

A former Scottish Conservative Holyrood candidate who sexually abused children over 15 years has been jailed for eight years.

John Smart, 48, from Edinburgh, began abusing one boy when the child was aged three.

He also attempted to rape an 11-year-old girl.

Smart, described as a preacher, was convicted of sexually abusing three children following a trial at the High Court in Perth in December.

Sentencing him at the High Court in Glasgow today, Lady Dorian said the offences had involved a "significant degree of grooming".

She ordered him to serve eight years behind bars and a three-year extended sentence which will see him supervised for that period once he is released.

She said: "The offences were planned, intrusive and involved a significant degree of grooming.

"Your victims were vulnerable and it was as they came to rely on you as a friend and for support that you committed these offences against them."

She said an extended sentence is necessary for the protection of the public as Smart poses a "sufficiently significant risk".

Smart began abusing the three-year-old in April 1987 and continued to do so over a 10-year period, at addresses in Edinburgh and at swimming pools around the country.

He was convicted of "unnatural carnal connection" with one child.

The former train conductor sexually abused a second boy on one occasion between August 1987 and 1989 when the child was aged between five and seven, and the girl on various occasions over five years from April 1997 when she was eight.

He was convicted of four charges of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices against all the children, and one of attempted rape of the girl.

He was sentenced to two years on one of the lewd behaviour charges, which will run concurrently with the eight years.

Lady Dorian also placed him on the sex offenders register.

Solicitor Advocate John Keenan, defending, said his client continued to deny responsibility for the offences.

He said: "Notwithstanding the fact that Mr Smart denies responsibility, he acknowledges that these are extremely serious offences and understands he will inevitably receive a significant custodial sentence."

Smart stood as a Scottish Conservative candidate for Holyrood in 2003.

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Filed by Dina Rickman  |