SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

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HMA v Callum Duncan

 

Jun 9, 2021

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lady Scott sentenced Callum Duncan to 8 years’ imprisonment after the offender was found guilty of rape.

 

On sentencing, Lady Scott made the following statement in Court: “You were convicted after trial by the unanimous verdicts of the jury of four sexual offences in Aberdeen city centre in 2019.

Charges 1 and 2 related to two offences of sexual assault by seizing the breasts of the same young woman in nightclubs, within 3 days each other, in charge 4 to violent rape and in charge 5 to deliberate sexual exposure and masturbation toward a woman walking past outside your flat. At the time of charge 5 you had been released on bail in respect of the violent rape in charge 4 which is a significant aggravation.

Your victim in charge 4 was a complete stranger to you. She was walking home to a friend’s house after a night out with others. She turned down the offer by them to accompany her because she felt safe in Aberdeen and it was not far.

You followed her. She became uneasy and crossed the road. You then crossed the road after her and began chatting to her. You lived in the same street the victim was staying in. Outside your close door you attacked her from behind by seizing her by her hair and dragging her into the close. You dragged her up 3 floors and on the 3rd floor landing, when she was on her hands and knees and you were still detaining her, you pulled down her clothing and violently raped her and sexually abused her over a prolonged period.

 After you had finished your victim fled to her friend’s house. Her extreme distress was seen by her friend and the police very shortly after and it was recorded on a police body camera. She told her friend she had thought she was going to die and she felt a great deal of pain. She was so distressed she required medical attention and she was injured physically. She was suicidal.

But your victim is a resourceful and brave young woman. She has endured a long struggle to survive. She still suffers from PTSD and nightmares and pain. But has begun to rebuild her life and is back at work applying her skills to help others. In her words she will not be defined by what you did to her and I am sure that is right.

This is a very serious course of predatory violent sexual conduct which appears designed to attack, degrade and demean women to get sexual gratification.

Your sentencing hearing was previously postponed in order to obtain a better informed Criminal Justice Social Work report. I do not find any real difference from before, in this report. It does not seem to fully appreciate that your account - which mirrors your evidence - was rejected by the jury. I do not fully accept the risk assessment as moderate. I agree with the suggestion in the report that your conduct was opportunistic but in the sense of that of a predator.  

On the other hand there are significant factors here in mitigation. First and foremost I take into account you appear as a first offender and you were only 22 years old at the time. These offences do reflect a degree of immaturity. I accept you have reflected hard on this during your remand. I have regard to the needs for rehabilitation for a man of your age. I therefore reduce the sentence I would otherwise have imposed, which would have been in double figures.

I take into account you have a long term and stable relationship and the loss you have sustained in losing your opportunity to complete your degree. You were an ambitious and hard-working young student and loss of your future aspirations is significant.

Callum Duncan I sentence you as follows:

On charges 1 and 2, to a cumulo sentence 12 months imprisonment

On charge 5, to 18 months imprisonment of which 6 months reflects the bail aggravation

These sentences to run concurrently with each other and with the sentence imposed on charge 4.

On charge 4, I sentence you to 8 years imprisonment backdated to 16 January 2020. You will remain on the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period.”

9 June 2021