LAWYERS for Neilston actor Kevin Guthrie acted competently when representing him in the trial which resulted in his sexual assault conviction. 

The 34-year-old Sunshine on Leith star instructed a new legal team to go to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh. 

Guthrie believed that his old lawyers failed to properly defend him during his trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court last year. 

Advocate Ian Duguid QC told appeal judges that his client’s old legal team failed to properly examine DNA evidence which prosecutors presented in their case.

The jurors heard evidence which showed that Guthrie’s DNA was on underwear which was being worn by his victim at the time she was assaulted. The jury heard that this supported the woman’s claims that she had been sexually assaulted by Guthrie.

However, Mr Duguid said that evidence showed that even although Guthrie’s DNA was on the clothing, it didn’t automatically mean that he abused her. 

The court heard that the clothing could have been contaminated with Guthrie’s DNA because it had been placed in a carrier bag before it was handed over to police. 

The appeal judges also heard that Guthrie had came into contact with the woman earlier on the evening when she was sexually assaulted. He touched her clothes when helping to get her into a taxi. 

Mr Duguid said forensic experts reckoned it could be possible that Guthrie’s DNA was found on the woman’s underwear as consequence of these incidents - a process known as “indirect transfer”. 

However, in a written judgment issued by the court on Tuesday, Lord Carloway rejected the submissions made by Mr Duguid. 

Lord Carloway, who sat with colleagues Lord Matthews and Lord Pentland, wrote that Guthrie’s previous lawyer - Gordon Jackson QC - raised the issue of "cross contamination" of DNA during the case. 

The appeal judges said that Mr Jackson acted properly when defending Guthrie.

Lord Carloway wrote: “In the present case, the appellant’s defence was that he did not sexually assault the complainer. 

“The presence of his DNA on the complainer’s pants must have been as a result of some form of cross-contamination, for example from the complainer’s outer clothing with which the appellant had been in contact. 

“The appellant gave evidence that he did not assault the complainer. 

“The Crown’s forensic scientist was cross-examined on the basis that the DNA must have been as a result of cross-contamination from the contact between the appellant and the complainer on the way to the flat. 

“The defence speech followed that line. In these circumstances, the test... is simply not met. The appeal must be refused on that basis.

“In deference to the arguments advanced on behalf of the appellant, it may be of some utility to examine the contentions of fact in more detail. 

“In doing so, it is important for this court to focus on the totality of the evidence at trial and not to concentrate exclusively on the impact of the DNA findings and what might be inferred from them. 

“The question for the jury was a stark one. It was whether the complainer was credible and reliable in her account of being sexually assaulted in the flat. If she had been assaulted, the only candidate for that assault on the evidence was the appellant. 

“There was no issue of identification nor was there any possible lack of corroboration.”

Guthrie was originally jailed for three years last May for preying on a female, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at a flat in Glasgow’s west end in September 2017. 

Guthrie denied any wrongdoing and said he had only "helped" the woman after she fell ill.

However, the jury was told that his DNA was found inside her underwear.

The 29-year-old woman told the court: "I remember my top being lifted up and my bra being held down."

She was groped by Guthrie before he performed a sex act on her.

Guthrie carried out a further two sexual acts and kissed her on the mouth.

Guthrie, who also starred in the Fantastic Beasts films and Netflix series The English Game, was placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

During proceedings earlier this year, Mr Duguid successfully argued that the sentence imposed on Guthrie was too lengthy given the circumstances of the offence. 

Mr Duguid argued that people in similar positions to Guthrie were given shorter custodial sentences.

The appeal judges agreed and reduced Guthrie’s sentence from three to two years. He was released immediately due to time already served.

In the judgement, Lord Carloway wrote that Guthrie posed a low risk of re-offending and that his acting career lay in ruins. 

He added: “Although it was recognised by the appellant that a custodial sentence was appropriate, it was submitted that the sheriff had attributed insufficient weight to the appellant’s previous exemplary character, his charity work and the devastating effect which the conviction would have on his career. 

“The court agrees with that submission. The crime committed was a serious one. It is an inexplicable one when set against the appellant’s background. Most important, the appellant’s conviction is likely to end, at least for the foreseeable future, the successful career which he has worked hard to achieve.”