A judge may decide to publish a statement after passing sentence on an offender 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.
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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.
Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.
HMA v Michael Dixon
May 31, 2021
On sentencing, Lord Burns made the following statement in Court: “You were convicted on 12 March 2021 of charges of sexual abuse in the late 1980s. It comprised of the most serious forms of abuse including vaginal rape and anal penetration. This occurred on many occasions. Your victim was 11-12 years of age. You were 14-15. She was and remains deeply traumatised by these crimes, as was obvious from the way she gave her evidence. You continue to deny that you abused her and appear unable or unwilling to accept responsibility.
You also abused another child when she was 9 years old. You were then 17 to 18. You continue to deny these offences also.
You have convictions for sexual offending some of which occurred in June and September 1990. It too was perpetrated against 3 young girls of 7 and 9. After that in 2001 you abused another 9 year old girl on one occasion.
Your offending behaviour thus spanned a period from 1987 to 2001 but the majority of it occurred between 1987 and 1991 when you were 14 to 18 years of age.
I must have regard to the fact that you have remained out of trouble since 2001 and that there is no suggestion that you now present a material risk of further offending. The current assessment is of low risk. That is in contrast to any assessment which had been made at the time of the offences.
I can also take account of the views in the Social Work report that your offending was at least in part a result of adolescent problems which you were experiencing. You appear to have managed to overcome those difficulties. Despite your denial of the current offences, you appear to recognise the harm you caused to your other victims and have made positive efforts to desist from further offending.
You are now 47 and have a stable relationship. You have made a new life for yourself and you have a good employment record. It is to your credit that you have also taken an initiative in supporting people with mental health in your last employment.
The offences of which you have recently been convicted are very serious ones which must be dealt with by a significant custodial sentence. I have full regard to your age when you committed them. I recognise that public protection does not require to form a material element in this sentence.
In all the circumstances, I can limit that to one of 4 ½ years. That is a cumulo sentence on all the charges. I will backdate that to 12 March 2021.
You will remain on the Sex Offenders register indefinitely."
31 May 2021