SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

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HMA v Daryl Gowers

 

Dec 1, 2020

At the High Court in Glasgow today Lord Fairley imposed an extended sentence of 11 years on Daryl Gowers, with a custodial term of 7 years and an extension period of 4 years, after the accused was found guilty of 4 charges of rape and an additional charge under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act, 2009.


On sentencing, Lord Fairley made the following statement in court:

“Daryl Gowers, you were convicted by a jury of five charges under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act, 2009. Four of those were charges of rape contrary to section 1 of the Act, and the fifth was of a penetrative assault contrary to section 2.

Your offending spanned a period of four and a half years and involved four different victims. Whilst all five of the charges of which you were convicted are extremely serious I note, in particular, that Charge 2 involved multiple rapes - over a period of almost two years - of a woman with whom you were then in a relationship.  The rapes began shortly after she fell pregnant with your child and continued throughout her pregnancy. Charge 4 involved the rape by you of a woman with significant learning difficulties who had an IQ of around 70. Charge 5 involved an assault on a vulnerable complainer with serious mental health issues who you had met through an online dating service.

Whilst you have no previous convictions, your social work records highlight a long history of problematic sexual behaviour dating back to the time when you were a child.

I have taken account of everything that has been said on your behalf today by your counsel, as well as all of the information contained in the Criminal Justice Social Work Report which was prepared for the purposes of today’s sentencing diet.

I have noted, in particular, that you suffered an unhappy, disjointed and dysfunctional childhood, involving parental neglect and significant periods of time in foster care. I note that you now present as a relatively isolated and vulnerable individual and that this has led, in the past, to you being a target for offending by others, and finally, I note that whilst you may have never been formally diagnosed with a learning disability, your cognitive functioning is likely to have been adversely affected by childhood trauma. I do appreciate that, in all of these circumstances, prison is likely to be a difficult environment for you. Having regard, however, to the seriousness of the offences of which you have been convicted, a custodial sentence as you will appreciate is the only one open to me. 

Turning to the question of public protection, you have been assessed by the social worker as presenting a high risk of further sexual offending. Although you apparently understand the concept of consent, professional assessments have described you as being impulsive and lacking comprehension of your harmful behaviour. You presented to the social worker as having a lack of concern for your victims. That accords with my own impression of the evidence that you gave at the trial. The totality of the evidence before me suggests that you present a serious risk to public safety, particularly the safety of women.

Whilst I would hope that you would take advantage of programme work in prison to access your offending behaviour, I agree with the social worker who assessed you that a lengthy period of supervision will be essential once you are released from custody in order to manage the serious risk of harm that you present, and in particular, I am quite satisfied that the normal period of licence to which you would be subject following your release from custody would not be adequate to protect the public.

I accordingly propose to impose what is known as an extended sentence, comprising a custodial term and also an extension period of post-release licence, known as an extension period.

The Crown’s position at the trial was that your offending was a single course of conduct systematically pursued by you, and by their verdicts, the jury clearly accepted that. In light of that, and instead of imposing separate sentences on each of the five charges, I propose to impose a single cumulative sentence covering all five charges.

The custodial term of that cumulo sentence will be 7 years, and the extension period of post-release licence will be for 4 years. That results in a total extended sentence of 11 years.

The custodial element of the sentence will be backdated to 3 November 2020 when you were first remanded in custody following conviction.

You will remain subject to the notification requirements applicable to sex offenders for the remainder of your life, and your name has already been intimated to the Scottish Ministers for addition to the list of persons deemed unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups.”