A judge may decide to publish a statement after passing sentence on an offender in cases where there is particular public interest; where a case has legal significance; or where providing the reasons for the decision might assist public understanding.
Please note that statements may include graphic details of offences when it is necessary to fully explain the reasons behind a sentencing decision.
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The independence of the judiciary is essential to safeguard people’s rights under law - enabling judges to make decisions impartially based solely on evidence and law, without interference or influence from the government or politicians.
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 Alasdair McCulloch
Jul 3, 2020
On sentencing, Lord Boyd made the following statement in Court:
“You have pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of two young boys between 2001 and 2008. You were then between the ages of 17 and 24. In May 2018, you were convicted on your own plea of five charges of sexual offending against six young boys. You were sentenced to 4 years 6 months imprisonment. The release date is 13 May 2022, though you are eligible for parole in August this year.
It is clear to me that the present offences are part of the same pattern of offending as was dealt with in the 2018 indictment. You will know from your own experience the lifelong effects that such offending can have on young people. I have seen the victim statement of the complainer on the second charge which briefly narrates the effect on him and confirms the psychological trauma that such offending can cause.
I have read the criminal justice social work report. You accept full responsibility for your actions. You show genuine remorse and an insight apparently gained from your own experience as to the effects on the victims. It is clear that as a child you suffered neglect and abuse as well as exposure to domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse. It is to your credit that you have not engaged in drug abuse and that alcohol is not a problem for you.
You have taken responsibility for the care of younger brothers and sisters during your mother’s period of imprisonment. You have gained educational qualifications and prior to your imprisonment you held a managerial position. You have extended your education in prison including an Open University science course.
You express not just a willingness but a desire to engage in the Moving Forward Making Changes programme. You are assessed as being suitable for the programme. Unfortunately I am told that you are 105th on the waiting list, a situation made more difficult by the present pandemic. This is highly regrettable. I very much hope that the length of the waiting list can be addressed by the authorities so that you can benefit from it.
I take all of these matters into account but I have to weigh that against the gravity of the offences and the protection of the public.
Despite the length of time since the last offence and your positive attitude to addressing your offending behaviour, taken together your offences demonstrate a pattern of offending against young boys over a period of 10 years. It is also clear that you may not have completed all the work that may be required with you to address your offending prior to release from a determinate sentence. For these reasons, and having regard to the recommendation in the social work report, I am satisfied that the term of imprisonment that I could impose would not be sufficient to protect the public from serious harm. I consider that a two year extension is sufficient given the possible period on licence following parole.
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.
I shall impose an extended sentence of 6 years of which the custodial part shall be 4 years and 2 years extended. Had you been convicted after trial, the custodial part of the sentence would have been 6 years. The sentence shall be concurrent to the sentence you are currently serving and run from today’s date.”
16 June 2020