Newsagent sent to prison over under-the-counter porn fims

Barry Smart newsagents, Castle Douglas
Barry Smart newsagents, Castle Douglas

A NEWSAGENT who ran a mail order business distributing obscene videos and DVDs has been jailed for 11 months at Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court.

Ronald Smart, 42, of Abercromby Road, Castle Douglas, was told by Sheriff Shirley Foran that he had shown a complete disregard for the law by committing the offence almost immediately after a previous penalty imposed on him for virtually the same thing.

Ron Smart

Ron Smart

She discounted his sentence from one of 15 months to 11 months but said that Smart had shown a complete selfish disregard for his family and she had a duty to the public and there was no alternative to a custodial sentence.

At an earlier hearing the newsagent admitted selling obscene videos and DVDs. A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act will be held later.

Smart pleaded guilty to distributing obscene material with a view to its eventual sale or distribution from Barry Smart newsagents on the town’s King Street between February 11, 2005 and November 12, 2007.

The court was told that police seized 148 videos and 199 DVDs on February 6, 2009, when they raided his King Street shop in Castle Douglas.

They contained extreme material, with a view to their eventual sale and distribution and were said to contain lurid films featuring scenes of extreme degrading sex acts including bondage, orgies and other obscene material.

The court also heard that Smart had run a mail order business with a County Durham business partner, making thousands of pounds and it had been estimated that his share was around £20,000 but that was disputed by his agents.

The police had also obtained lists of customers of Smart from computers and police had called at houses and addresses in many parts of the country.

Smart earlier denied a charge of taking, permitting to be taken or making four indecent images of children, which was accepted by the Crown.

Agent Bill McVicar argued that a custodial sentence would not be appropriate in this case and the public interest would be better served by imposing the maximum period of probation and a community penalty.

He also said that Smart could benefit from an alternative sentence to prison so that issues could be focused on and dealt with.

Mr McVicar said Smart’s social circle had become limited because of press publicity and he continued to be involved with people he had been involved with before.

It would be better, he said, to prevent him from becoming involved with such people in the future and help him understand the difficulty society had with regards to pornography.