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HMA v Robert Ferrier


Jan 19, 2021

At the High Court in Glasgow today, Lord Arthurson sentenced Robert Ferrier to an extended sentence of 10 years after the offender was found guilty of raping a 14-year-old girl on a railway platform.


On sentencing, Lord Arthurson made the following statement in court:

“Robert Ferrier, on 15 December 2020, at Paisley High Court you were convicted after trial of the rape of a 14 year old girl who was essentially a stranger to you. This offence occurred on a railway platform in Port Glasgow in August 2019, when you were aged 20 and had been released only 9 days previously from a custodial sentence on another indictment for possession of a knife while on bail. The jury in convicting you plainly rejected your defence of consent. On any view this was a particularly grave sexual offence against a child which occurred in a public place in broad daylight. Having considered family impact statements it is clear that the impact of your crime upon your victim and her family has been devastating.

You are now aged 21, and have to date accrued 17 prior convictions, 4 of these being convictions for the possession of a knife, and you have served 11 custodial sentences. While this is your third conviction on indictment it is your first in the High Court and it is your first sexual offence. The present matter represents a considerable escalation in the gravity of your offending and it is of particular concern that it took place within a matter of days after your release from your last indictment sentence.

Various risk assessment tools have been employed by the author of the criminal justice social work report prepared for today’s sentencing hearing.  You have been assessed as presenting a very high risk of general offending and a very high risk of further sexual reconviction. You have in addition been assessed as presenting with a high level of needs under reference to multiple specific risk factors in terms of further sexual offending.

I have listened with care to what has been said this morning on your behalf by your counsel in mitigation and I have noted and taken into account all of the points advanced by her in reaching a view on an appropriate disposal in your case, in particular your young age at the time of the commission of this crime and in general terms your very challenging family background and upbringing.

In the whole circumstances I have concluded that the only appropriate disposal in this case requires to be a significant custodial one. Further, on the basis of the evidence led at your trial and of the terms of the risk assessments and your criminal record to which reference has already been made, I am of the view that you present a high risk of serious harm from which it is necessary to protect the public, in particular women and young girls, and that 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 to be imposed by the Court. Accordingly, I propose today to impose upon you an extended sentence, which will be in two parts. The first part is custodial, namely a period of imprisonment. This custodial part 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. In your case it is very much to be hoped that this extension period will contribute significantly towards your successful re‑integration into the community in due course. In the whole circumstances of your case the extension period of the sentence will in my view require to be a substantial one.

Turning now to disposal, you will serve in respect of charge two on this indictment an extended sentence of 10 years duration, comprising a custodial term of 6 years and thereafter an extension period of 4 years. This sentence will be backdated to 13 August 2019, being the date of your initial remand in custody in this case.   

Finally, as a result of this disposal, you now become subject to the notification requirements set out in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.”

19 January 2021