Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Solicitor Michael Wright found guilty of attempt to blackmail his childhood abuser

SOLICITOR Michael Wright was found guilty of extortion at the last jury trial held at Haddington Sheriff Court. The court heard in evidence lawyer Wright had sent threatening letters to his childhood abuser demanding £25K for silence otherwise he would tell his employers. In an update to the story (January 20 2015) it has been reported Mr Wright was jailed.

Daily record: Shamed solicitor found guilty of trying to blackmail his childhood sex abuser

LAWYER Michael Wright sent an anonymous letter threatening to tell the convicted abuser's employers about his sordid past unless he was paid £25,000.

A SOLICITOR has been convicted of trying to blackmail his childhood sex abuser.

Michael Wright, 39, sent an anonymous letter threatening to tell the man’s employers about his conviction for abusing three boys in the 1980s.

And he demanded £25,000 as the price of his silence.

But instead of paying up, the elderly man, who preyed on boys who came to him for music lessons, went to the police.

During a three-day trial at Haddington Sheriff Court, Wright claimed he believed he had a legitimate claim for compensation and planned to give the money to charity.

But the father of two was found guilty of attempted extortion.

Sheriff Peter Braid deferred sentence to January and released Wright on bail.

The abuser, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said his mind was a blank about his sex offences.

He added: “I accept he (Wright) was a victim of what I was doing. But I felt it had to be done (informing the police) as whatever happens you cannot be blackmailed.”

Wright was working as a legal adviser at Livingston JP Court at the time he wrote the letter, which was franked with a court stamp.

The letter contained details of his bank account for the money to be deposited.

Wright, who broke down in the dock several times as he relived the abuse, said the sexual assaults against him went on for six to 18 months.

He added neither he nor his family had ever received an apology.

Wright said: “I genuinely believe I had a legitimate claim against the man. I never intended to threaten him and I knew I wasn’t going to (personally) benefit financially.

“I wanted to see some contrition.

“The letter was pure and raw emotion.”

He insisted that the lack of signature on the letter was an oversight when he wrote it in a state of anxiety.

Lorna Harrison, prosecuting, told the court the demand was “a standard threatening letter of blackmail”.

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