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HMA v Tharaneetharan Manikkavasagar


May 21, 2020

At Glasgow Sheriff Court today, Sheriff Andrew Cubie sentenced Tharaneetharan Manikkavasagar to an extended sentence of two years and eight months, after the offender plead guilty to four charges of sexual assaults on bus journeys.

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

“You have plead guilty to four charges of sexual assault under the sexual offences Scotland act 2009. There are significant similarities in relation to the commission of each of the offences; each happened on a bus journey, each happened when the bus was busy, each involved the deliberate selection of an unaccompanied female, where you moved yourself into close proximity before subjecting them to thrusting or touching.

In each case the complainer was initially unaware or disbelieving but your behaviour was sustained until each of them became aware that you were deliberately and consciously acting; all the victims were upset and distressed. Through civic involvement and after a request through the Glasgow Live website you were identified as the perpetrator of each of the assaults.

I accept that these offences were to a degree opportunistic, but you were careful to identify the victim as a lone female and use the cover of a number of other passengers and a busy bus to disguise your actions and hide your motivation; so there was a degree of structure to the offences if not detailed pre-planning. The report dated 17 April makes it clear that you identified the victims in advance of the journey.

Victims were scared and immediately reported the assaults; while the physical invasion was limited, each was deeply affected by sexual and intimate nature of the assault.

I have also read the material provided from the “Freedom from Terrorism” organisation. I accept that you were subjected to treatment and experiences in Sri Lanka that have had and will continue to have psychological consequences for you and I take that into account, but it is difficult for me to attribute some loss of control or disinhibition to that background. It may well be that you decision to resist friendships have been a factor in your offending behaviour, but again it is difficult to see that it constitutes any powerful mitigation in relation to these assaults.

The initial report was of limited assistance; you were unable to accept the sexual motivation which underpins the conviction; the up to date report now reflects that you recognise the offences were sexually motivated. But you explain that it was due to the type of clothing worn by the victims and the fact that they used public transport; you planned these attacks for busy times to attempt to hide your actions. It is plain that a risk exists because you have not demonstrated any insight into the crimes themselves as opposed to the effect upon you and you suggest your own needs and lack of control superseded the wrongfulness of the conduct. And as the report reflects despite your apparent shame at the first attack you carried out three further attacks.

This was a sustained course of conduct; invasive, and upsetting undermining confidence of victims in safe transport, and trust in other passengers. Given the report and the risk assessment I consider that only a custodial sentence can properly reflect the sentencing purpose of protection of the public, punishment and expressing disapproval, which in this case outweighs both the prospect of rehabilitation (although that prospect seems limited) and giving you an opportunity to make amends.

Because you have been convicted of a sexual offence, I am concerned to ensure that the public is adequately protected against serious harm from you when you are eventually released, which the report considers to be a factor. For that reason I am going to pass on you an extended sentence of two years and eight months.

The first part of the sentence is an immediate period in custody. You will be sentenced to 20 months imprisonment as a cumulo sentence in relation to all four charges, modified from 30 months for the timing of the plea.

This custodial term will run from the date of your remand on the 14 October 2019.

But this immediate period in custody is not the end of your sentence.

The second part of your sentence will be served in the community. From the date of your release, you will be under licence for an extension period of one year. The conditions of your licence will be fixed by the Scottish Ministers. If during this extension period you fail to comply with the conditions of your licence, it may be revoked and you may be returned to custody for a further period in respect of this case.  The court also has power to deal with you if you commit another offence after your release and while you are on licence.”

4 May 2020