This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Former charity CEO cleared of taking sexual pictures of friend

This news post is almost 2 years old

Sheriff satisifed he took pictures but said there was not enough evidence to convict

Nathan Sparling, the former HIV Scotland chief executive, has been cleared of taking voyeuristic pictires of his friend.

He was on trial accused of taking images of the half naked man following a drinking session.

Sparling, a former aide to ex-SNP depute leader Angus Robertson, was accused of using the victim’s phone to take several pictures at his Edinburgh flat.

But a not proven verdict was returned by Sheriff John Cook on Monday after a two-day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Delivering the verdict, Sheriff Cook said he’d concluded Sparling took the photos and described his actions as “clearly reprehensible”.

He said however that the Crown had not supplied enough evidence to convict Sparling of breaching the terms of the Sexual Offences Act.

The alleged victim, who cannot be identified due to legal reasons, told the trial he met up with Sparling at an Edinburgh bar on September 30, 2019.

Sparling said the man fell asleep in his flat and he had “no recollection of taking any photos” when the pair returned to his home.

Sparling said: “If I had taken any photos it would have been as a joke.

“But the only thing I did was put a blanket over him so he was warm while he slept.”

Sparling was chief executive of HIV Scotland between December 2018 to December 2020 and currently works for a PR company.

He also co-hosts an online political and current affairs podcast called A New Nation.