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HMA v William Whyte


May 20, 2021

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Braid sentenced William Whyte to 6 years’ imprisonment after the offender was found guilty of raping a 15-year-old.


On sentencing, Lord Braid made the following statement in Court: “William Whyte, you were convicted by the jury of raping the complainer when she was just 15 years of age. Although on one view of the evidence, you were already involved in a consensual sexual relationship with her (which did not form part of the charges against you and which I will leave out of account in selecting a sentence), on the occasion in question she did not wish to, and made it clear to you that she did not wish to, have sex with you because, on her evidence, your young son was watching. You told her that if she loved you, she would have sex with you. She was crying and repeatedly said no, but nonetheless you went ahead and had sex with her without her consent. At the time, you were 23 years of age.

The complainer has submitted a victim impact statement in which she attributes her subsequent travails in life to your abuse of her. In fairness to you, it cannot be said that all of that is down to this one incident, as opposed to your entering into a relationship with her when she was underage, and I bear that in mind. Nonetheless, I easily accept that the effect of having been raped in front of your son, which was her evidence, was traumatic for her in the extreme and inevitably has had lasting and harmful consequences.

You have no previous convictions, ie none which predate this offence, although since the date of the offence you have accrued a number of convictions, most notably a High Court conviction for concern in the supply of cocaine as well as convictions of sundry other offences.

The Criminal Justice Social Work report is concerning inasmuch as it reveals that at your first interview with the author of the report, you deliberately told lies about your background in an attempt to create a more favourable impression with the court.  Fortunately, there was a second interview at which you did, it is said, provide accurate information, although even then, some of the information you provided has turned out not to be true when it was checked.  Insofar as your risk is concerned, you are assessed as a medium to moderate risk of sexual reconviction. 

In mitigation your solicitor advocate has referred to your own mental health difficulties and to other issues you had to contend with growing up, but has been unable to say anything in mitigation of the offence itself in light of your continuing denial of the offence.

I take all of the foregoing into account, in particular your relatively young age when the offence was committed and your own mental health difficulties at the time. However, the age of the complainer at the time of the offence is an aggravating factor, as is the fact that in some respects you were in a position of trust in relation to her, in that she had acted as your babysitter. As far as risk is concerned, in addition to the report I also take into account that it is now some 25 years since the offence was committed and you have not been convicted of any other sexual offence in that period.

A significant custodial sentence is inevitable. In all the circumstances I impose upon you a sentence of 6 years imprisonment, backdated to 29 April 2021. Had it not been for your relatively young age at the time of the offence I would have imposed a longer period.

Finally in consequence of this sentence you will be subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indeterminate period.”

20 May 2021