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HMA v John McCallister


Apr 3, 2020

At the High Court in Glasgow today (27 March 2020) Judge Cubie sentenced John McCallister to 8 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of 3 charges of rape.

On sentencing, Judge Cubie made the following statement in court:

“The jury found you guilty of three charges of rape perpetrated against two victims over a three year period.

The rapes took place in their respective homes, undermining stability and safety - the victim impact statement from the second victim is compelling in her description of the destruction to her confidence and security caused by your assault.

The victims had much in common; each was materially younger than you; each was new to and a stranger to Oban; each was isolated, both socially and in terms of family support, and each in her own way dependent upon you; each had a young child; and on the occasions libelled when under the influence of drink and despite clear refusals you raped them in their respective homes. The presence of a child on each occasion was apparently treated by you as a factor making it much more unlikely that the victims would fight back or shout out. And you mocked challenges to your behaviour, saying they would not be believed.

These were not misunderstandings but conscious manifestations of the power and control you exercised in the relationships. You may have seen yourself as helping them to integrate into the local community, but the price they paid for their relationships with you was to be subjected to the rape charges now established, offences which have and will continue to have serious consequences for each victim.

The reports I have are of limited assistance because of your restricted participation, but I accept that your position has been consistently to deny the offending; however the parts which did not rely upon your attitude to the offending disclose are concerning. By your own account you were distrustful of your partners and your purported acceptance of the equality of the female partners is undermined by your mistrust; your assertion that there was some kind of conspiracy is undermined entirely by the fact that the later victim approached the police relatively soon after the rape but was told no action could be taken, no doubt due to lack of corroboration; it was only when an enterprising police officer made contact with the first victim that matters emerged. There was no collusion, but separate brave and compelling accounts from the victims.

In determining the appropriate sentence, I take into account the victim impact information, all that has been said on your behalf this morning including the relatively recent diagnoses of ADHD and PTSD, together with the contents of the criminal justice social work report which contains a risk assessment. 

It is unfortunate that you have demonstrated no insight into the gravity of your offending or its impact on your victims.

As you recognised rape is a most serious matter  - you said in your evidence ”About the worst thing you can do to a woman…”; that means despite your very limited record that there is no alternative but a custodial sentence.

I considered the imposition of an extended sentence, in view of the gravity of these offences and your lack of remorse and insight to the effect upon your victims. That arises when a substantial risk of serious harm arises. However I do not consider that, in relation to the material provided in the reports available, the statutory test has been met and will deal with this matter by the imposition of a custodial term of imprisonment only

On all the charges taken together, I will impose a cumulo sentence of 8 years imprisonment.

I will backdate the sentence to 26th February 2020 when you were first remanded in custody.

You will remain subject to the notification requirements applicable to sex offenders indefinitely.

Details of your convictions have been intimated to the Scottish Ministers in terms of the legislation protecting vulnerable groups.”