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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 Richard Stewart
Apr 19, 2022
On sentencing Lord Boyd made the following statement in court:
"You pled guilty to seven charges of rape, one of sexual assault and one contravention of section 1 of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018. There were two complainers. The first three charges relate to the first complainer, and were committed between 2009 and 2011. The offences against the second complainer, comprising the other charges, were committed between 2019 and 2021. Both complainers were women with whom you were in a relationship at the time. Both were vulnerable.
The nature of the offending is clear from the agreed narrative. In general, what is described involves forceful and often violent rapes against two vulnerable young women. Although some of these were vaginal, you have a preference for anal sex. You took little care in how that was achieved and paid no regard to the complainers’ feelings or welfare, ignoring pleas to stop and causing pain and injury. From the reports it appears that you have a liking for aggressive sex. The rapes were frequent and regular occurrences during your relationships with these two women.
Charge 4 on the indictment is a charge of domestic abuse involving controlling behaviour, restriction of liberty, verbal abuse and physical assaults.
You have a conviction in the High Court from 2015 when you were convicted of sexual offences involving young girls. One was 12 at the time, the other 15 years of age. You were sentenced to an extended sentence of 5 years of which 2 years was the custodial part.
I have no doubt that the offending will have had serious psychological effects on both complainers.
I intend to deal with you by imposing a cumulative sentence. The Risk Assessment Report assesses you as being a high risk of re-offending. The assessor concludes that you have an enduring propensity to offend sexually against vulnerable women who are known to you. He finds that at the present time there are no meaningful protective factors present and that the inevitable conclusion is that your remain a high risk.
He notes however that there is some hope for the future. In particular there is an absence of any co-existing risks, such as addiction, personality disorder or other anti-social behaviour. Any risk management in future will be better informed as to the nature of the risk. You have also expressed what the assessor regards as a genuine wish to have professional assistance to address the legacy of abuse. I also note that you have started to access educational courses in prison and wish to continue to do so.
Nevertheless having regard to nature of the offences for which you have been convicted, your previous convictions, the Risk Assessment Report and the Criminal Justice Social Work Report I am satisfied that there is a likelihood that if you were to be at liberty you will seriously endanger the physical or psychological well-being of members of the public at large. I am also concerned that some of the later offences on the indictment were committed while you were on licence from your previous conviction, subject to supervision and having, apparently successfully, completed the Moving Forward: Making Changes programme.
The assessor concludes that there was no failure of supervision; simply, that the offences were committed, notwithstanding the fact that you were subject to supervision.
For these reasons I am satisfied that the risk criteria are met and shall impose an Order for Lifelong Restriction.
I require to fix a punishment part. In doing so I take into account the following factors
- The seriousness of the offences
- The harm which you have caused
- The fact that five of the offences were aggravated by involving abuse of your partner, contrary to section 1 of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016. It would not be appropriate to make separate provision in respect of these aggravations.
- Your previous conviction and the fact that you were on licence and under supervision.
I have also taken into account your background, including the abuse which you suffered as a child. You are clearly an intelligent man who is described as having a good work ethic. You have accepted your guilt. You make no excuses and blame no one else. You appear to have spoken to both the risk assessor and social worker compiling the reports with a remarkable degree of candour.
I shall set the punishment part at 3 years 4 months.
I reach that figure applying the rules set out in the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993.
The determinate sentence that I would have passed would have been 11 years. The part attributable to the requirements of retribution and deterrence is 10 years. In accordance with section 2B of the Act the headline punishment part is 5 years. Applying the appropriate discount for the early plea gives a punishment part of 3 years 4 months. That is backdated to 11 March 2021.
As a result of your conviction and the sentence imposed you are subject to the notification requirements under Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.
The clerk of court will serve upon you a notice confirming those requirements with which you must comply."