An award-winning Highland chip shop owner who admitted sex offences involving a teenage girl was sentenced to 200 hours of community service at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday.
Simon Harkai, who runs The Happy Haggis in Aviemore, had pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of the 14-year-old, and inducing her to engage in sexual activity by kissing another teenage girl in his shop.
Sentencing had been deferred on first offender Harkai, 41, of Craig-An-Darach, High Street, Kingussie, until yesterday for the production of a background report.
Harkai has also been placed on the sex offenders register.
The court previously heard that the 14-year-old girl was frequently in the shop and that she and Harkai became involved in “banter” which then became flirtatious.
A 17-year-old girl was also in the shop and took photos on Mr Harkai’s phone of the younger girl exposing her breasts. A total of seven pictures were kept on his phone.
On another occasion, Harkai took the two girls into his office and asked what they would do for him, and they kissed each other on the mouth.
The incidents came to light when the child’s mother confiscated her phone as a punishment and was concerned by what she found on it and called the police.
Defence solicitor Lorenzo Alonzi said that his client’s background report was “glowing”.
He added: “He is a father of two and a hardworking individual and he has displayed genuine remorse for what he has done and has a low risk of reoffending. The report suggests a community payback order restricted to unpaid work.”
Mr Harkai pleaded not guilty to taking indecent photographs of the 14-year-old and sending her text messages requesting that she engage in sexual activity with him. He also pleaded not guilty to making sexual remarks and causing her to look at a sexual image of a woman’s naked breasts. These not guilty pleas were accepted by fiscal depute Roderick Urquhart at an earlier hearing.