SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

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HMA v Daniel Cunningham

 

Aug 9, 2021

At Edinburgh High Court today Lord Arthurson sentenced Daniel Cunningham to 7 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of the crime of rape to injury.

On sentencing Lord Arthurson made the following statement in court:

"Daniel Cunningham, on 6 July 2021 after a trial at Glasgow High Court a jury convicted you of the crime of rape to injury in respect of which your victim was a 14 year old schoolgirl who was unknown to you. On 13 July 2019, you, then aged 21, met your victim in a convenience store when she was in a vulnerable condition and induced her to go with you to a nearby open area of grass, picked her up and carried her when she refused to go further, and thereafter proceeded to carry out a forcible sexual attack upon her, all as fully libelled against you in the present indictment. Your criminal conduct in this case was both opportunistic and predatory in its nature.

You have a single non-analagous summary level conviction on your record. I have further been advised that since your conviction in this case you pled guilty to offences of a domestic assault to injury and police assault. The criminal justice social work report which has been made available for this sentencing hearing provides the Court with a mixed group of risk assessments, one tool placing you in the high risk category and another assessing the risk presented by you as moderate. You have a supportive family and appear to date to have had a good employment history. You yourself were, significantly, aged only 21 at the date of the index offence.

In addition I have listened carefully this morning to the submissions advanced on your behalf in mitigation by your senior counsel, who himself conducted your defence at trial. In particular he has emphasised your history of stability, but I propose to take all that he said in the course of his submissions into account in considering a suitable disposal in your case.

The grave nature of the crime before the Court means of course that on any view the only appropriate sentence in respect of this indictment will require to be a very substantial custodial one. The terms of the risk assessments to which I have referred mean that such a sentence ought properly to be a determinate one. The impact of your appalling and callous criminal conduct upon your young victim has been significant and long-lasting. She will undoubtedly have been severely traumatised by what was in effect a violent rape by you upon her when she was but 14 years of age.

In all of these circumstances you will accordingly serve on this indictment a sentence of imprisonment of 7 years duration. This sentence will be backdated to the date of your initial remand in this case, namely 6 July 2021.

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