A former Aberdeen journalist caught with indecent images of children was suffering from “mental scrambling” when he downloaded them, a court was told.
Norman Harper, 60, was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 18 months when he appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
More than 30 images were found at his home following a raid.
Harper, who once worked with the Press and Journal, was snared after police received intelligence from a national child abuse prevention agency.
His solicitor told the court: “He was suffering from mental scrambling at the time of the offences as he struggled through various family crises.
“He does not seek to hide behind this, but that was his state of mind at the time.”
Harper, of Stronach, Tullynessle, accepted he had made indecent images of children between November 12 and December 3, 2014 and he also admitted possessing indecent images between November 12, 2014 and January 20, 2017.
Sheriff William Summers handed Harper, who had no previous convictions, a community payback order as an alternative to custody, ordering him to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.
He will also be under the supervision of social workers for the next 18 months.