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A former manager at an Inverness business continued to deny his guilt as he was sentenced for sexually assaulting four employees

By Ali Morrison

Derek Pirie.
Derek Pirie.

A former manger was convicted of sexually assaulting men at different times within an Inverness business.

Derek Pirie (55) of Towerhill Crescent, Inverness, denied groping, fondling and making sexual remarks to the men on various occasions between 1999 and 2018, but was found guilty after trial at Inverness Sheriff Court last month.

A jury heard claims by five men that they were targeted by Pirie.

One victim said he complained to police at the time but no action was taken until years later when, after confronting Pirie in a pub, he was approached by officers who said other men had since come forward with similar allegations.

He and others denied a suggestion put to them by defence solicitor Neil Wilson that they simply wanted to get back at Pirie for being a “bad boss”.

Others said they had been frightened to report what was happening to them for fear of losing their jobs.

This week Pirie was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

He was also placed under social work supervision for a year and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for the same length of time.

Mr Wilson submitted references from Pirie’s current employer and others who said they were aware of the findings of the court.

“His position remains he did not commit the offences he was convicted of,” he said.

Sheriff David Sutherland said: “While the offences, individually, were not of the gravity of many cases which can come before the court, taken cumulatively it is clear supervision would be beneficial to allow you to reflect on your behaviour and prevent it from happening again, causing further distress and harm.”

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