SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

A judge may decide to publish a statement after passing sentence on an accused in cases where there is particular public interest; where a case has legal significance; or where providing the reasons for the decision might assist public understanding.

Please note that statements may include graphic details of offences when it is necessary to fully explain the reasons behind a sentencing decision.  

Follow us if you wish to receive alerts as soon as statements are published. 

Statements are removed after around 12 months, but may be available on request. Please email judicialcomms@scotcourts.gov.uk

The independence of the judiciary is essential to safeguard people’s rights under law - enabling judges to make decisions impartially based solely on evidence and law, without interference or influence from the government or politicians.

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.

For more information about how judges decide sentences; what sentences are available; and matters such as temporary release, see the Scottish Sentencing Council website.

Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.

Read more about civil judgments.

HMA v DL

 

Jul 31, 2020

At the High Court in Glasgow today (29 July 2020) Lord Arthurson imposed an extended sentence of 12 years on DL, with a custodial term of detention of 5 years and an extension period of 7 years after he pleaded guilty to three charges of rape.


On sentencing Lord Arthurson made the following statement in court:

“DL, on 14 May 2020 at Edinburgh High Court you tendered by way of section 76 procedure pleas of guilty to three charges of rape, the latter charge aggravated by your status on petition bail in respect of the first two charges.  Your victims were all female children.  The first charge libels a rape committed by you which occurred in July or August 2015 when you were aged 12 and your victim was aged 11.  The second charge relates to a rape committed by you in June 2019 when you were aged 16 and your victim was aged 15.  In respect of the third charge the crime of rape is libelled as having been committed by you when you were aged 17 and your victim was aged 13.  Each of these crimes of sexual violence involved the use of force on your part towards your victims but it is notable that in the course of the final offence you strangled your victim in what was plainly a material escalation of the level of violence used by you.

You are presently still 17 years of age and have on your record only one post‑offence conviction for a non‑analogous matter at sheriff court summary level.  I propose therefore in these circumstances to treat you today as being in terms a first offender.

Detailed reports have been prepared in respect of your background for the purposes of today’s sentencing hearing, namely a criminal justice social work report and risk assessment dated 10 June 2020 and a report dated 13 July 2020 by Dr Marshall, a very experienced consultant clinical and forensic psychologist.  The author of the criminal justice social work report has advised that you have a history of misusing alcohol and controlled drugs and that you lack the ability to demonstrate any empathy towards your victims.  You are further noted as presenting a high risk of general offending and in particular it is considered highly likely that you will commit further offences of the nature of the offending on the present indictment if you do not address your offending behaviour.  Dr Marshall has helpfully narrated in detail your history of adverse childhood experiences and in describing you as presenting with highly complex clinical problems has emphasised that his report is very much of the nature of a preliminary assessment.  He notes that the rapes libelled against you escalated in severity in terms of the violence used by you; that they appear pre‑planned to some degree;  and that they appear sexually and sexually sadistically motivated.  He states that it is rare for a 12 to 17 year old to have committed three sexually violent rapes across this time period.  It is particularly concerning to note Dr Marshall’s finding that you are fixated on the strangulation of females.

I have listened with care this morning to everything that has been said on your behalf by your counsel in mitigation.  I note in particular the events occurring at various times during your childhood that have been narrated in the reports and that have been referred to by your counsel.  Your young age at the time of your commission of the crimes charged as well of course of your age today is of considerable significance for the purposes of today’s sentencing exercise.  It is also important to acknowledge your own acceptance of your criminal responsibility in respect of the index offending by way of your very early pleas of guilty in this case.

In the whole circumstances, I have concluded that the only appropriate disposal for the crimes libelled on this indictment, involving as they do sexually violent offending against children of the gravity which I have described, requires to be a substantial custodial one.  I am taking such a course in your case in order to punish you and to reflect society’s revulsion towards your criminal conduct.

Further, on the basis of the agreed facts before the Court, together with the terms of the reports to which I have already referred, I have to tell you that I am deeply concerned by the risk which in my view you present to the public and in particular to female children and young women.  As I indicated in court on the date upon which you tendered your pleas of guilty, you appear to be an extremely dangerous young man.  In my opinion you present a high risk of serious harm from which it is necessary to protect the public.  In these circumstances the normal period of licence would not be sufficient to protect the public from the risk which you would present on your release from the custodial part of any sentence.  I accordingly intend today imposing upon you an extended sentence, which will be in two parts.  The first part is custodial in nature, namely a period of detention.  This will be followed by an extension period in the community, when you will be on licence and under supervision.  The conditions of your licence will be fixed by Scottish Ministers.  If during this extension period you fail to comply with the conditions of your licence, it may be revoked and you may be returned to custody for a further period in respect of this indictment.  The Court also has power to deal with you if you commit another offence after your release and while you are on licence.  It is very much to be hoped that this extension period will contribute significantly towards your safe re‑integration into the community in due course.  Standing the terms of all of the information before the Court, on any view it is clear that in your case the extension period will require to be a particularly lengthy one.

Turning now to disposal, you will serve on this indictment, in respect of all three charges on an in cumulo basis, an extended sentence of 12 years duration, with a custodial term of detention of 5 years and thereafter an extension period of 7 years.  This sentence will be backdated to 20 February 2020, being the date of your initial remand in custody in this case.  The custodial tariff of this disposal has been reduced from a period of 7 years and 6 months detention due to the early timing of your pleas of guilty.  For the avoidance of doubt, had I been sentencing you as an adult first offender, the appropriate starting point tariff for a headline sentence range would have been one in my view of at least 10 years.

Finally, as a result of this sentence, you now become subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period."

29 July 2020