SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

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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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.

For more information about how judges decide sentences; what sentences are available; and matters such as temporary release, see the independent Scottish Sentencing Council website.

Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.

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HMA v George West

 

Aug 11, 2021

At the High Court in Glasgow today, Lord Matthews sentenced George West to 15 years imprisonment after the offender was found guilty of 16 charges including six charges of rape, three charges of indecent assault and three charges of assault.

On sentencing Lord Matthews made the following statement in court:

"You were convicted of a catalogue of sexual and violent offending involving a total of sixteen charges and no fewer than nine complainers. 

There were three charges of assault, involving three of the complainers, six charges of rape involving five complainers, one  of them being aged 12 and another 15 and two of them involving various occasions, three charges of indecent assault on three complainers, two of them being on various occasions and one including penetration of the complainer’s vagina with a bottle and her anus and mouth with your penis, two charges of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour, each on various occasions, towards two girls between the ages of 12 and 16 and two charges of breach of the peace involving two of the complainers. 

I do not intend to go into any details about these offences. The circumstances were fully explored in evidence and the charges almost speak for themselves.

Your position is and was that apart from one assault the complainers were not telling the truth and that the crimes were not committed. Your evidence to that effect was rejected by the jury. Three of your victims have provided impact statements from which it can be seen that the effects of your predations have been devastating.  

I have listened to what has been said on your behalf and I take account of all of that as well as the contents of the Criminal Justice Social Work report. I also take account of your record, which, although short, contains a very serious offence of assaulting a child to severe injury with a sexual element. You were convicted of that on 5 December 2005 and, after a Crown appeal, you were made the subject of an extended sentence with a custodial element of ten years and an extension period of five.

You are now aged 55 and plainly not the man you once were in terms of your health, having suffered a stroke in 2011 and with a number of other ailments as detailed in the report. Your mobility, for example, is significantly affected. Because of that I will not be imposing an extended sentence, which would certainly be the case were you in full vigour.
However, a lengthy period in custody is the only appropriate sentence I can pass on you to reflect your appalling conduct.

On the common law charges, that is, using the numbering on the original Indictment, charges 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21 and 22, I sentence you to imprisonment for a period of 15 years in cumulo.  That will run from14 July 2021 when I remanded you in custody.
On each of the statutory charges, namely charges 8 and 20, as numbered on the original Indictment, you will be sentenced to imprisonment for 2 years, to run concurrently with each other and with the sentence on the common law charges.

You will be subject to the notification provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period, as indeed you already are."