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 Peter Muir
Dec 10, 2020
On sentencing, Lord Boyd made the following statement in court:
"You have been found guilty after trial of the rape of two young women, unlawful sexual intercourse with one of them and unlawful sexual intercourse with a third underage girl.
When you were 16 years of age you formed a relationship with a 13 year old girl you met at a church youth camp. In the course of that relationship, you raped her vaginally, anally and orally. This happened on about 6 occasions. You also had consensual sex with her on another 7 or 8 occasions. It is clear from her evidence that at the time she was young, sexually inexperienced and somewhat naive.
While you were also a child at the time, you were three years older and more experienced than her. The age difference was important and you took advantage of her.
When you were 18 years old you raped a 16 year old girl in your own home. She was someone who looked to you as a friend. Hitherto there had been no romantic or sexual involvement between you. She had fallen asleep in your room and woke up to find you penetrating her vagina. You continued to have sex with her in spite of her protests and despite her efforts to get you off her.
When you were 19 years old you had consensual sexual intercourse with a 14 year old girl who was drunk at the time. You had messaged her over Snapchat but had not had any other contact with her beforehand.
These offences will have had a lasting effect on your victims. I have read the victim statement of one of the complainers who details the trauma that she has suffered as a result of being raped by you. You have no insight into the harm that you have caused these young women. You have an attitude of sexual entitlement. You continue to deny all but one of the charges.
You are assessed as a moderate risk of re-offending. Given that there are three victims who were all adolescent girls, your lack of understanding or contrition and your general attitude towards women I consider that you pose a risk of future offending of a like nature. I am satisfied that the custodial sentence that I can impose is insufficient for the protection of the public and I will impose an extended sentence.
That means that on your release from prison you will be subject to licence conditions for longer than would normally be the case. That will allow the authorities to monitor your behaviour and to assist you in rehabilitating into the community. If you offend during that time you may returned to prison to serve out the balance of your sentence.
I have listened carefully to what your counsel has said on your behalf. I take into account your age at the time of the offences and in particular at the time of the first two offences. You appear before me as a first offender. You obtained a number of highers at school and qualifications at college related to the tourism trade. You have a good work record. You have the ability to make something of your life if you put your mind to it. I also accept that your family remain supportive and can offer you support on your release from prison. Were it not for these factors, and in particular your young age at the time of the first two offences, the sentence I am about to impose would be longer.
As a result of your conviction and the sentence which is about to be 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.
On charge 1 you will go to prison for 5 years.
On charge 2, I shall impose a sentence 9 months imprisonment, reduced from 12 months to take account of the offer to plead guilty to this charge at the preliminary hearing.
On charge 4, the sentence is an extended sentence of 7 years of which the custodial part shall be 5 years and two years extended.
On charge 6, 6 months imprisonment.
These sentences shall run concurrently with each other; that in effect means that you will serve an extended sentence of 7 years, 5 of which will be custodial. The sentence will be backdated to 13 November 2020."