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HMA v Grant Shanks


Feb 23, 2024

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lady Poole imposed an extended sentence of 9 years on Grant Shanks. The sentence comprises a custodial period of 7 years, with a further 2 years on licence in the community. Shanks had been found guilty of charges relating to domestic abuse and stalking. He also admitted disclosing an intimate photograph. He has been issued with non-harassment orders, added to the Sex Offenders Register and placed on the list of people unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups.

On sentencing, Lady Poole told Shanks:

“Grant Shanks, you pled guilty at the High Court in Livingston to a charge of disclosing an intimate photograph.  You were also convicted by the jury, after they heard evidence, of three further offences of abuse of two different women. Two were offences of stalking, one with a partner aggravation.  The other was a charge of serious domestic abuse, with a child aggravation. 

Your first victim had a short relationship with you.  The jury found she was stalked by you.  She described you as full of anger, and was shocked and intimidated by your behaviour. 

You abused your second victim over a period exceeding two years.  You abused her emotionally, violently and sexually.  The jury heard evidence that you isolated her, threatened to kill her children, controlled her money and violently assaulted her on numerous occasions.  You pulled her hair out, punched, struck and headbutted her.  Sometimes you used improvised weapons to attack her, such as a heavy ornament or a telephone, and on one occasion you had a knife.  Your attacks on her left her with visible injuries. You demanded sex from her, and at times she gave in even if she didn’t want to, to stop you getting angry and beating her up.  On one occasion when she did not want to have sex, you held her by the throat and had sex with her, even though her breathing was restricted to the danger of her life.  Family and friends described her change of personality over the course of her relationship with you.  She changed from a bubbly, outgoing, well dressed person, to somebody unkempt and upset. Not content with that, after the relationship ended, you sent a photograph of an intimate part of your victim’s body with an added caption to somebody else.  You yourself accepted that was vile behaviour.

A victim impact statement describes the effect of your abuse, both short and long term.  What you did resulted in long term impacts on your second victim’s health, her family relationships, and her life. 

I have taken into account a criminal justice social work report which I ordered.  The assessor found that you take little responsibility for your actions, and show no real insight about the effect of your behaviour.  You were assessed as continuing to pose a serious risk of harm to any new partners.

I have also considered carefully all said on your behalf in mitigation.  In particular, you have no previous convictions.  You have a good work history.  You were in your early 20s at the time of your offending against your first victim, so may have lacked maturity at that time, although you were in your late 20s at the time of your offending against your second victim.  I also note that you indicated at an early stage that you would plead guilty to one of the offences against you.   

You do not accept most of the offences of which you were convicted, but I must sentence you on the basis of the jury’s verdict, reached after they heard evidence.  As I said to you shortly after the jury convicted you, society will not tolerate domestic abuse.  The sentence of the court must reflect that.  Although you have never before been imprisoned, no other method of dealing with you is appropriate than a substantial custodial sentence.

Charge 3, domestic abuse, is the most serious offence.  I impose an extended sentence of 9 years on that charge, of which 7 years is the custodial part and 2 years is the extension period.  6 months of the custodial part is attributable to the child aggravation.  I have imposed an extended sentence because I am satisfied in all of the circumstances that ordinary conditions of licence would not be adequate for the purposes of protecting the public from serious harm from you on your release from prison, particularly women you might form relationships with in the future.  During the extension period, you will be subject to a licence, the conditions of which will be set by the Scottish Ministers. Breach of any of these conditions will make you liable to be recalled to serve out the whole of the sentence in custody, and you may also be sentenced for any offence committed while on licence.

I also sentence you to periods of imprisonment on the other three charges, which will all be served concurrently with each other and with the sentence I have already imposed.  I sentence you to 4 months imprisonment on charge 1, and 4 months imprisonment on charge 2 (one month of which is attributable to the partner aggravation).  On charge 8, I sentence you to 8 months imprisonment.  This is reduced from a headline of 12 months imprisonment, 2 of which are attributable to the bail aggravation and 2 to the partner aggravation, because of your early guilty plea to this charge. 

Your sentence will be backdated to 26 January 2024, the date you were first remanded in custody.

You have been placed on the sex offenders register, which will be for an indefinite period, and your name has been given to the Scottish Ministers in connection with lists of persons deemed unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups.

Finally, I have decided the statutory tests for non-harassment orders have been met.” 

23 February 2024