A hypnotherapist who was filmed carrying out a sex act on himself by two schoolboys has been placed on the sex offender’s register.
Gary Sutherland was spotted by the youngsters in his vehicle as they made their way home from school in May this year.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how one of the teenagers noticed what the 59-year old was up to and captured video footage on his mobile phone.
But as soon as Sutherland realised he was being filmed, he fled the scene in his car.
The pupils then passed the footage on to the police, who were able to quickly identify and trace Sutherland – who boasts on his company’s website that he can help clients tackle addiction or bad habits.
It is understood he was not charged with exposing himself because the act took place under a blanket.
‘He is not hiding from this – he accepts it was wrong’
During his sentencing, Sutherland’s defence agent Graham Morrison told the court his client’s actions were a result of “stress” and Covid-related business woes.
He said: “Mr Sutherland was a self-employed hypnotherapist and was reasonably successful in that before the pandemic.
“The surge in Covid-19 caused him problems and gave him so much stress and that just compounded the stress that he was already under.
“But he’s not hiding from this in any way and he accepts that he was in the wrong.
“He is thoroughly embarrassed and that remains the case – it has had an impact on his family and his business.”
Mr Morrison added that Sutherland was a first offender.
Sheriff told accused his actions ’cause harm’
Sheriff Margaret Hodge told Sutherland: “I take into account that you are a first offender and also the very serious implications on your career, your earning capacity and wider relationships.
“You are not assessed as presenting a risk of serious harm, but there does seem to me an issue about your lack of understanding about impropriety the inappropriateness of your actions.
“Regardless of what you think, it does cause harm among the other issues here.”
She sentenced Sutherland, of Great Western Road, Aberdeen, to a 12-month community payback order with a supervision requirement and ordered him to take part in a treatment programme for sex offenders.
Sheriff Hodge also placed the 59-year old on the sex offenders’ register for one year.