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When deciding a sentence, a judge must deal with the offence that the offender has been convicted of, taking into account the unique circumstances of each particular case. The judge will carefully consider the facts that are presented to the Court by both the prosecution and by the defence.
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Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.
HMA v Craig William Harkins
Jun 16, 2020
On sentencing, Lady Rae made the following statement in court:
“You have been convicted by a jury of a catalogue of domestic abuse crimes of the worst kind and which involved serious physical, sexual and psychological harm inflicted upon four women who became involved in a relationship with you. The evidence from all of the complainers revealed you as a manipulative, violent and controlling man who would do anything to get his own way, including in the case of one complainer, forcing her to submit to sexual behaviour before being allowed to see her own young children. On some of these occasions, having obtained what you wanted, you then refused her access to her children or limited it to minutes. It seems to me that, at times, you gained pleasure from abusing your victims. The pain, suffering and lasting damage caused to all of your victims, all as detailed in the victim impact statements, cannot adequately be summarized in this short sentence statement.
You take no responsibility for the crimes you have committed and thus have expressed no remorse whatsoever. You see yourself as the victim. Having regard to your attitude and having heard the evidence in this case, it is not unreasonable to infer that you are a man who believes he is entitled to treat women in the manner disclosed in the indictment which, disturbingly, spans a period in excess of 12 years.
I am of the view that you are a serious risk to women who may enter a relationship with you and accordingly I must consider whether I should impose a sentence which would afford some measure of protection to the public once you have been released from prison. I listened very carefully to all that has been said by your senior counsel, Mr. Findlay, and I have had regard to the detailed risk assessment report which I ordered some months ago. After reflecting on all of the information provided I have decided, despite the very serious nature of this indictment, that the imposition of an order for lifelong restriction is not appropriate in this case, however, what I am clear about is that the serious risk you present to women is such that an extended sentence is necessary and required.
In deciding upon sentence in this case I had considered imposing consecutive sentences in respect of each of the group of charges in respect each complainer, however the cumulative effect of that would have resulted in a very long custodial part to the sentence which may have been seen to be excessive.
Accordingly I intend to group the charges by reference to their seriousness and repeated nature. I must also be mindful of the fact that most of the charges, individually, aver repeated criminal conduct involving each of the complainers over an extended period.
I shall refer to the numbering of the charges as per the jury copy of the indictment.
I should also make clear that in fixing a custodial part I have taken account of the fact that these crimes were committed in the context of a domestic relationship and that in itself is an aggravation. In these circumstances I shall not further increase the sentences on charges 20 and 21, in terms of the aggravation under section 1 of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016.
I shall backdate the sentences to 22nd February 2019 when you were first remanded in custody. For the reasons stated above all of sentences will run concurrently with each other.
In respect of charges 1 and 2, namely, assaults upon two women who were not in a relationship with you, where you brandished a knife at them the sentence will be 1 year on each charge.
With regard to charges 11, 17, 20 and 23 - all of which aver threatening and abusive behaviour over an extensive period and which are libeled as contraventions of Section 38 (1) of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 - the maximum sentence which a court can impose on indictment is fixed by the statute at 5 years imprisonment. In view of the extent of the behavior libeled in this case I intend to impose a sentence of 4 years on charges 11, 17 and 20 and 2 years on charge 23.
On charges 4, 5, 12, 18 and 21 – the repeated assaults on all 4 complainers who were your partners, including to the danger of the life of two of the women, the sentence will be a cumulo sentence of 9 years.
In respect of charges 6, 7, 8, 13 and 14, namely the repeated rapes and sexual offending against 2 of the complainers over an extended period, the cumulo sentence will be one of a custodial part of 12 years which I shall extend by a further 5 years post release supervision.
8 June 2020