February 2014

Revealed: Paedophile A&E doctor is freed from jail despite judge’s warning and ministers’ fears

A PAEDOPHILE doctor has been freed from jail after a parole board rejected a Scottish Government plea to keep him behind bars over fears he will attack children.

Leslie Mitchell, 60, was jailed for four years in 2010 for trying to lure two girls, aged 10 and 11, into his car.

The judge at the High Court said Mitchell had wanted to have sex with the girls and told him he might never be released from prison after imposing a new order that allows the authorities to hold a prisoner indefinitely.

But Mitchell, who told social workers he had sexually abused other girls, got his sentence reduced on appeal and has been freed despite ministers’ opposition.

The doctor, originally from Falkirk, now lives in social housing in nearby Bo’ness.

The Parole Board for Scotland granted his freedom despite the objections by ministers. They said he should be moved to Castle Huntly open prison so he could be monitored before release.

In parole board documents seen by the Sunday Mail, ministers said there was not enough evidence to suggest he would not be a risk to the public.

But Mitchell told the board he needed to go back into the community to “test” whether his rehabilitation had worked.

The documents also showed that Mitchell said he wanted to have sex with a girl aged 10 to 16 but his preferences were those aged 10 to 13.

And he admitted to his psychologist during a risk assessment shortly before his release that he had engaged in sexual activity with young girls three times in the last decade.

Despite this, his application was approved by all but one of the parole board’s members.

Mitchell, who worked in the casualty ward at Stirling Royal Infirmary, was jailed for at least four years in September 2010 after trying to lure two girls into his car.

He had been convicted at Falkirk Sheriff Court in June 2010.

Prosecutor Kirsten Anderson said the young victims were scared by Mitchell’s approach as they walked home from school. She said: “The accused then told the girls that he was cold and offered to give both a lift home in the car although they were not to tell their parents.

“He told them that he would meet them after school the following day at the same place, to which both girls said ‘No’.”

Sheriff Craig Caldwell described him as a “determined sexual offender” and a “very significant risk to children”. He said the offences were so serious that he should be sent to the High Court to be dealt with.

Three months later, Mitchell was sentenced by Lord Hardie at the High Court in Edinburgh. The judge told him: “It’s not so much what actually happened, but what might have happened.

“It became clear that your clear intention was to ingratiate yourself with these two little girls and ultimately to take them away and have sexual intercourse with them.

“It became clear that your real preference was for young girls between the age of 10 and 12.”

Lord Hardie also sentenced him to an order for lifelong restriction (OLR), which allows the authorities to keep prisoners in custody indefinitely. The judge warned him: “The effect of that is that you may never be released from prison.”

Mitchell told a social worker that he had a long-term sexual interest in young girls and revealed previous offending against victims of a similar age in England.

He also admitted accessing images of child sexual abuse on the internet and using online chatrooms to contact children with a view to grooming them.

During his 2012 striking-off by the General Medical Council, Mitchell admitted engaging in similar behaviour since the 1990s.

The prison sentence was later reduced to 16 months but appeal judges opposed his plea to overturn the restriction order.

Mitchell convinced the parole board that he should be the first OLR prisoner to be allowed out of Edinburgh’s Saughton prison last month.

Oct 2011

Doctor who ‘lured’ girls in Stirling has sentence cut

A doctor who was given a life sentence after trying to lure two young girls into his car has had his minimum jail term cut by more than half.

Leslie Mitchell, 58, from Falkirk, will now become eligible to seek his release but any decision to free him will lie with the parole authorities.

Appeal judges rejected a challenge to his lifelong restriction order.

Sentencing guidelines changed after test cases brought by rapist Robert Foye and paedophile Morris Petch.

Earlier this year Foye secured a reduction in his punishment part from nine years to four and a half years after being convicted of raping a teenager while on the run from Castle Huntly prison following the ruling.

Mitchell was originally ordered to serve a minimum term of four years before he could apply for release but the appeal judges said this would now be reduced to 16 months. He has been in custody since June last year.

The former Stirling Royal Infirmary casualty doctor originally admitted committing a breach of the peace in January last year at Webster Avenue, Carronshore, in Stirlingshire, by engaging the girls, aged 10 and 11, in conversation, asking if he could tickle their legs and and attempting to entice them into a car.

The first offender described himself to a social worker who was asked to prepare a report on him as a “recovering paedophile”.

He revealed that he had previously taken part in similar conduct in 1993 and 1997 and began grooming young girls in chatrooms after gaining internet access in 2000.

He accepted that he had met the two girls with the intention of grooming them to commit sex offences against them.

Risk to public

Sentencing Mitchell last year, Lord Hardie told Mitchell: “The terms of the charge really don’t do justice to what was actually happening in this case. It became clear that your clear intention was to ingratiate yourself with these two little girls, ultimately to take them away and have sexual intercourse with them.”

In imposing the lifelong restriction order on the doctor he told him: “The effect of that is you may never be released from prison.”

Mitchell challenged both the imposition of the life sentence and the length of the minimum term, or punishment part, during his appeal.

His solicitor advocate Murray Macara QC argued that the indeterminate sentence was “unnecessary and inappropriate” and that the period set that he must spend in jail was “excessive”.

Lord Carloway, who heard the appeal with Lord Bonomy and Lord Brodie, said they were satisfied that having regard to the risk to the public, the sentencing judge, Lord Hardie, was correct in imposing the indeterminate sentence.

The court heard that Mitchell discovered through freedom of information that earlier this year, of the 77 offenders who have received Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLRs) in Scotland, none had yet been released back into the community.

Mitchell is due to have a General Medical Council hearing to consider whether he is a fit and proper person to be registered as a doctor later this month.