A Highland social worker who sexually assaulted a woman during a visit to her home could escape punishment.
David Macrae admitted the assault when he appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday.
And the 58-year-old’s lawyer took the rare step of asking Sheriff David Sutherland to defer conviction as well as sentence.
He provided a psychological report on his client to the sheriff, who then called for a background report on the married man before continuing the case until January 5.
The lawyer’s move could pave the way for a plea that Macrae be granted an absolute discharge, despite his guilty plea.
That would mean he could walk free from court without a cr8iminal conviction.
Macrae, of Rosedale Cottage, Hartmount, Tain, had visited the woman on June 15.
Fiscal depute Michelle Molley told the court the victim, who is in her early 20s, made a cup of tea for both of them and noticed that he was staring at her breasts.
The fiscal added: “She challenged him about it and then he made a comment about her bra. The woman was shocked that he had made such a sexual remark.”
Macrae removed the woman’s jumper and bra without saying anything, but as she asked him to stop and moved away he told her that all he wanted to do was touch her.
He left the house and later apologised for the incident.
Sheriff Sutherland allowed Macrae’s bail to continue and said: “I have before me certain reports which are relevant.
“But I will require a criminal justice social work report. I will defer conviction and sentence until January 5.”