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HMA v Mark Lawson


Feb 25, 2021

At Glasgow High Court today Lord Arthurson imposed an extended sentence of 7 years and 6 months, comprising a custodial part of 4 years and 6 months and an extension period of 3 years, on Mark Lawson after the accused pleaded guilty to attempted rape to injury.

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

“Mark Lawson, on 27 January 2021 at Glasgow High Court you tendered a plea of guilty at a first preliminary hearing to a charge of attempted rape to injury contrary to section 1 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland ) Act 2009, as aggravated in terms of section 1 of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016.  A criminal justice social work report is now available and you appear today for sentence.

You have a record of prior domestic offending running from 2016 to 2020 and to date you have served one custodial sentence.  Your plea in the present matter, as it has now been accepted by the Crown, was offered as soon as the case was indicted.  You have been remanded in custody in respect of this case since 20 July 2020.

The index offence occurred on 19 July 2020 at a flat in Perth.  You had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol.  The sexual attack which you perpetrated upon your victim was sustained and violent and occasioned a variety of injuries to her.  She required to attend Perth Royal Infirmary for treatment.  The impact of your attempted rape upon your victim has had enduring and traumatic consequences for her.

The author of the background report records that you have behaved in a coercive and controlling way towards your victim for many years. She notes that you have expressed deep shame for your conduct on the occasion libelled and for the traumatic impact which that conduct had upon your victim, albeit the author observes that in her view you have demonstrated no empathy in relation to your victim. In the section of the risk assessment dealing with serious harm the author states that serious physical, sexual and psychological harm was caused by you in respect of the index offence and that the imminence of such serious harm increases in the context of any future intimate relationships.

I have listened with care to what has been said in mitigation on your behalf by your counsel, both this morning and at the previous hearing at which your plea of guilty was tendered.  In particular I note what has been said regarding your age, your work ethic to date, your present personal circumstances and your very challenging social and family background and especially what your counsel has referred to as the extraordinary drama of your teenage years.  I also take into account your early acknowledgment of responsibility in terms of the timing of your plea in this case and indeed the nature of the amendment made to the charge.

The gravity of the crime to which you have pled guilty plainly requires the imposition of a significant custodial disposal. On the basis of the whole material now available I consider that you present a high risk of serious harm in the context of any future intimate relationships, from which risk it is necessary to protect the public. The normal period of licence would not in my view be sufficient to protect the public from the risk which you would present on your release from the custodial part of any sentence to be imposed by the Court. I am therefore imposing upon you today an extended sentence, which will be in two parts. The first part is custodial, namely a period of imprisonment. This custodial part will be followed by an extension period in the community, when you will be on licence and under supervision. The conditions of your licence will be fixed by 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 indictment. The Court also has power to deal with you if you commit another offence after your release and while you are on licence. In your case it is to be hoped that this extension period will contribute significantly towards your successful and safe re-integration into the community in due course.  

In the whole circumstances you will therefore serve on charge one of this indictment an extended sentence of 7 years and 6 months duration, comprising a custodial part of 4 years and 6 months and thereafter an extension period of 3 years. But for the timing of your plea, the period of the custodial part would have been 6 years. This sentence will be backdated to 20 July 2020. I attribute 6 months of the custodial part to the aggravation libelled in terms of the 2016 Act.

Finally, as a result of this disposal, you will now be subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.”