Glasgow & West Scotland

Stewart Winton, 73, loses appeal over rape conviction

A 73-year-old man who was jailed for four-and-a-half years for raping a woman with learning difficulties has failed to have his conviction quashed.

Stewart Winton attacked the victim, who is in her 40s, at his home in Oban, Argyll, between April and June 2013.

He was caught after she reported the rape to a support worker.

Appeal judges rejected claims the trial judge failed to give enough attention when directing the jury to Winton's position that the sex was consensual.

Winton's lawyers had claimed that the law governing rape - the 2009 Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act - provided him with a defence.

'Reasonable belief'

At the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh they argued that the Crown could not prove that Winton did not have a reasonable belief that his victim was consenting.

Lady Dorrian, Lady Clark and Lord Malcolm ruled that the trial judge, Lady Scott, had acted correctly.

In a written judgement, Lady Dorrian wrote: "The nature of the complainer's condition, and in particular the apparent presentation of it, are factors which are relevant to the question of whether there is established an absence of reasonable belief in consent.

"To introduce the concept of honest but unreasonable belief in the way suggested by the appellant is in our view entirely inconsistent with the 2009 act as a whole, and in particular with the model of consent promoted by that act, which is one requiring active, continuing and positive consent.

"For these reasons, the appeal is refused."

'Forced it a little bit'

During his trial at the High Court in Glasgow last year, the jury heard that former soldier Winton raped the woman while his wife of 43 years, who uses a wheelchair, was not at home.

Winton later claimed that he had no idea of the woman's disabilities and believed she had consented to sex with him.

When questioned by police Winton told them: "Eh, it did happen to be honest with you. It was just one of those stupid things I did.

"My wife wasn't in at the time and she didn't seem to bother. I probably forced it a little bit."

The jury convicted him of rape after hearing that at the start of the police interview Winton had lied and said: "There was no actual intercourse or nothing."

Winton served in Cyprus and Northern Ireland with the Army, and later worked as a chef until he retired.

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