A child rapist who breached an order banning him from play areas has had his appeal against his conviction rejected.
William Stables, 79, has repeatedly breached a Sexual Offences Prevention Order since it was imposed on him more than 10 years ago.
The pensioner was handed a 10-year jail term in 2002 after subjecting a girl to four years of rape and abuse.
The offences happened at an address in Aberdeen and locations in Aberdeenshire.
He was convicted in February this year of three charges of breaking the order, which was issued in 2008 and placed a number of restrictions on him – including banning him from “entering or loitering” in or around any children’s play area.
Stables had argued in a pre-trial hearing that his SOPO and his most recent prosecution were invalid as no duration was specified in the order. However that argument was rejected.
The ruling about his conviction appeal states: “The appellant argued that the question for the court was whether an order, which was otherwise of indeterminate length, required to specify that it was ‘until further order’.
“The Parliamentary Explanatory Notes for the relevant section had stated that the period must be specified in the order, although it could be for an indefinite period.
“The Crown submitted that there was no requirement for a duration to be specified in the order, other than in those cases where the order was for a fixed period.”
It added: “It had been clear from the appellant’s police interview that he had been well aware that he was subject to the SOPO at the material time.”
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Between 2010 to 2017, Stables was convicted of breaching the SOPO on four occasions and handed jail terms.
After the breach conviction in February, he was handed 530 days in prison.
Explaining the reasons for refusing the appeal the written judgment from Lord Carloway states it would be preferable for a SOPO to state if it was for a fixed period or until further notice.
However, it says that not having the words “until further order” would not make it “fundamentally null”.
The judgment added: “On the contrary, so far as the principle of certainty is concerned, if a SOPO does not specify a fixed period, the default position, which is readily ascertainable from the legislation, is that it will continue until further order.
“That was the position in this case.
“If the appellant had wished to challenge the SOPO being made for an indefinite period, as the chief constable had requested, he had the opportunity to appear before the sheriff court at the hearing and oppose the indefinite nature of any order.
“If dissatisfied with the decision, he could have appealed in the civil process.
“For these reasons, this appeal is refused.”