A MAN is facing jail after threatening to send out “explicit” pictures of his victim because she owed him money – just four days after Scotland’s tough new revenge porn laws came into force.

Kieran Coyle met the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, through a dating website app and went on to talk to her over other social media sites.

Their relationship developed to the extent that they exchanged “explicit” pictures with each other.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard the relationship turned sour after the woman failed to repay money Coyle had lent her.

He then threatened to post a sexual image of the woman on social media if she didn’t pay up.

Coyle, 30, of Dundee, pled guilty to a charge under the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016 committed on July 7 – just four days after the new law came into force.

The charges state he threatened to disclose a photograph that showed the woman in an intimate situation and that Coyle threatened to share it via social media with the intent of causing her fear, alarm or distress.

Solicitor advocate Jim Laverty, defending, said: “They met through a dating app and communicated through social media.

“They then found difficulties because Mr Coyle, who was in full-time employment at the time, offered to lend her money.

“The money was then not repaid and he intimated he would share the image because of this.

“It was a threat but it was probably a threat he would have never carried out. He accepts this would have caused stress to the young lady.

“He is very embarrassed with himself.

“The image we are dealing with was not of a particularly indecent nature but, none the less, it was an image that may have caused the young lady distress.

“He asked me to apologise on his behalf for the stress he caused.”

Sheriff George Way deferred sentence until next month for social work background reports and released Coyle on bail meantime.

He said: “There is a great deal of publicity concerning this type of behaviour and it is important that examples of it are punished.”

Scotland’s new revenge porn laws came into effect on July 3 amid a blaze of publicity involving a poster campaign showing nude images of young men and women covered in crime scene tape.

The campaign was developed in partnership with Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland, Assist, Police Scotland and the Crown Office – all of whom are involved in dealing with the crime and its consequences.

At the launch, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said the new laws gave police and prosecutors “robust powers” to deal with the issue.

He said: “Social media is great for people keeping in contact but it is also being used in an abusive way by some individuals, particularly around the disclosure of intimate images, or even threatening to disclose intimate images. The legislation that comes into force as of today will make it an offence to actually do so.

“Our police and prosecutors will investigate the issues very thoroughly and, where there is the evidence to do so, they will seek to secure a prosecution through our courts.

“If someone is convicted of this type of offence they could spend up to five years in jail.”

Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said: “So-called revenge porn is not about revenge, and it’s not about porn. It’s about power, control and humiliation.

“Sharing, or threatening to share intimate pictures or videos of someone without their consent causes devastating harm to victims and it is absolutely right the law should reflect this.

“Our research on this showed most victims of this crime suffered long term anxiety, and some mentioned feelings of self-harm and suicide because their intimate images were shared without their consent.

“The fear and anxiety it creates can creep into every corner of a victim’s life and relationships.

“It’s unacceptable and it is never the victim’s fault.”

HeraldScotland | Crime & Courts

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