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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.
Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.
HMA v Kevin Guthrie
May 14, 2021
On sentencing, Sheriff Hughes made the following statement in court:
“You have been convicted by a jury of a contravention of Sections 2 and 3 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009. Since I have adjourned the Diet for sentence I have had the opportunity of reading the criminal justice social work report and other background reports. I have read many letters of reference submitted on your behalf and I have heard a very able plea in mitigation made by your senior counsel Mr Jackson QC.
This is a very troubling case. You have no previous convictions and up until now I am told that you have had an exemplary character. The background reports confirm that you come from a loving family in which you helped them play a significant role in the local community. You had an excellent education and worked extremely hard to develop your career in acting, leading to you appearing regularly in acclaimed films and on television. I have read all of the references with great interest and what comes across is the incredible loyalty your friends and associates still have in you even though they now accept that you had been convicted of these most serious charges. It is clear that most of the referees make no attempt whatsoever to diminish the seriousness of the conviction and accept the jury’s decision. It is also clear that they have difficulty understanding how you eventually acted in the way you did. They make no effort to condone what has been proved. It is also fair to say that some have shown considerable sympathy for your victim in this case.
What may come as a surprise to members of the public looking beyond the headlines affecting this case is that up until your conviction you have given up a considerable amount of your time, notwithstanding your fame, doing private works of charity over a significant number of years and in one of the references from the chair of the charity, Help for the Homeless you are described as a “Lockdown Hero” for what I am told was your unstinting work helping homeless people from the outset of the pandemic. You apparently brought food and comfort to those sleeping rough at night and when eventually the rough sleepers were accommodated in hostels, you apparently delivered hot meals every day to hostels, ignoring your own safety and helping those who are less fortunate, through a most dangerous and uncertain time.
The court should take all of this into account but more importantly, the court must fully concentrate on the serious nature of your offending in this case. The jury have found you guilty of extremely serious offences which have had a significant impact on your victim. It is fair to say that this had been a very difficult decision for the jury to reach, given the fact that they had to consider extremely complex evidence in this case. They sifted through all of the medical evidence, photographs of bruising on the complainer, the DNA evidence, the scientific evidence introduced by the defence and all of the circumstantial evidence implicating you in this offence. Most significantly the jury had to consider your own evidence as against the evidence of your victim and the jury chose to accept her evidence and taking that into account with all of the other available evidence they found that the charge has been proved against you beyond reasonable doubt.
The decision of the jury must come as a considerable comfort to your victim. It is fair to say that she gave her evidence with great dignity. It is clear that it must be extremely distressing to have to undergo intimate physical examination and then come to court and give evidence of a highly personal nature before a jury. The jury obviously believed her and chose to accept all the other available evidence in convicting you.
The courts must send out a clear message that women should be protected from sexual and domestic offences and anyone convicted of such matters should expect to suffer serious consequences. Women should feel protected by the law and know that if they require to come to court in respect of such matters, that they will be treated fairly and their evidence will be properly considered by a jury. They will be heard with fairness and impartiality and should not suffer in silence.
The offences of which you have been convicted have caused considerable distress and consequences to the young lady involved in this case. I have had the benefit of considering her position along with all of the other information placed before me in dealing with sentence.
In terms of Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 a court shall not pass a sentence of imprisonment on a person who has not previously served a sentence of imprisonment or detention unless the court considers that no other method of dealing with him is appropriate. The Appeal Court has made it clear that conduct such as yours should normally result in a custodial sentence because of the serious nature of this offence. What makes matters worse is that you committed this crime when you were in a position of trust. Your victim was in distress and quite unwell at the relevant time. She believed that her drink had been spiked when she had been elsewhere, earlier that night. The other male in the house was on the phone seeking medical assistance for her. You were left in the room with her, supposedly looking after her when she was not able to look after herself. There you committed this heinous crime. In all these circumstances the only appropriate sentence in your case, is one of imprisonment.
Taking every relevant circumstance into account, it is appropriate that you shall go to prison for a period of 3 years.
In terms of section 92 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 you have been convicted of an offence which is a sexual offence to which part 2 of that Act applies. The notification period will apply for an indefinite period and the clerk of court will provide you with the relative notice in due course.”