Hawick 25-year-old cleared of leaking sex videos

A party-goer has been cleared of leaking sex tapes described as extreme, wrecking the lives of those filmed after they went viral.

Jedburgh Sheriff Court.
Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

Greg Halfpenny, 25, had been accused of obtaining a 34-year-old woman’s mobile phone at a boozy party at her home in Hawick and sending five fetish videos featuring her and a man she was having an affair with to others.

However, during a trial at Jedburgh Sheriff Court, the crown announced that it was no longer seeking a conviction after leading evidence from the second witness in the case yesterday, December 10.

Accordingly, sheriff Kevin Duffy told Mr Halfpenny he was acquitted of both charges against him.

Speaking from the witness box, the woman seen in the videos claimed that she had given her phone to a female friend so they could Snapchat another pal to join their post-pub party at around 2am.

She said Halfpenny, also at the party, got hold of the phone and refused to give it back for a couple of minutes, and that is when it is alleged he accessed her stored videos, filmed in 2017 and featuring various sex acts including coprophilia, and forwarded them onto to the woman they had been inviting along.

The 34-year-old mum said: “I had given my phone to a friend to make a phone call, and Greg grabbed it from her.

“I knew what videos were on the phone, so I asked for it back, and he handed it to me.

“He had the phone for a couple of minutes – enough time for him to send the video to people.

“I only realised what he had done when I got a text from a pal at 5.30am saying: “Oh my god, I can’t believe you would let someone do that.”

She told the trial that happened during the early hours of Sunday, December 29, 2018.

Initially she thought the videos had only gone to one person and would be deleted, she said, but by the following Thursday she realised they had gone viral, so she reported the matter to the police the next day.

She told the trial she’d had a three-year affair with the 50-year-old man also pictured, explaining: “It was me and another guy who was in a relationship at the time, and we had been having an affair and the videos were of quite an extreme content.

“My world crashed as I realised the whole world would see it.”

Asked to sum up the impact the videos being leaked had had on her life the woman replied: “I have been subjected to absolute hell.

“I have been mocked on the street and received hate mail.

“I have been called a home-wrecker and told I will never be welcome in Hawick.

“I can’t even have a night out in Hawick as I still get abuse.”

Defence lawyer Stephanie Clinkscale questioned the woman’s version of events, though, particularly the time her client would have needed to have found the videos on her phone, sent them and deleted any evidence of the messages being sent.

She also asked the woman about a suggestion that she had been showing the videos to people at the party and “bragging because of who the person was in the video”.

The woman immediately refuted that claim, saying: “That’s lies.”

There was also conflicting evidence from the two witnesses heard about the number of people at the party, with the woman saying there were four and her 25-year-old friend putting it at seven.

Her pal, who admitted drinking two bottles of wine before going out to a pub and a nightclub, said she had used the woman’s phone to Snapchat another friend to invite her to the party.

She added that she did not know what happened to the phone after that.

Prosecutor Jack Caster said that, after considering that evidence, the crown was no longer seeking a conviction in the matter, leading the sheriff to tell Halfpenny he had been cleared of both charges.

Halfpenny, of Guthrie Drive in Hawick, had pleaded not guilty at Jedburgh Sheriff Court to two allegations of disclosing a film showing a man and a woman in what was described as an intimate situation.

It had been claimed he sent intimate videos over social media without consent, intending to cause those featured in them fear, alarm or distress.