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HMA v Lars Thor Pedersen


Jul 25, 2022

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Doherty sentenced Lars Pedersen to an Order for Lifelong Restriction after he pled guilty to rape. The punishment part of the sentence was set at 3 years and 2 months.


On sentencing, Lord Doherty said:

"Lars Pedersen, you pled guilty to the rape of a woman. The circumstances of the offence are extremely concerning. You encountered her when she was sitting alone near a canal. At the time she was very distressed, intoxicated and vulnerable. You saw the opportunity to rape her and you seized it.

The careful and detailed risk assessment report prepared by the assessor whom the court appointed - a consultant psychiatrist - opines that your being at liberty would present a high risk to the safety of the public at large.

On the basis of this offence and the other material which has been placed before me relating to you both before and after the commission of this offence, I am in no doubt that there is a likelihood that if you were to be at liberty you would seriously endanger the physical or psychological well-being of members of the public at large - and in particular of women - and that it is likely that you would continue to do so if you were released from prison after serving an appropriate determinate sentence.  The requirements for the imposition of an order for lifelong restriction are made out. That is the sentence which I impose upon you.

The law requires me to set a minimum term of imprisonment - the punishment part of your sentence. That is the minimum period you must serve before the Life Prisoner Tribunal of the Parole Board could even consider your case should you wish to apply for release from prison.

In order to arrive at the punishment part I have to start by deciding what would have been an appropriate determinate sentence for the offence. In the whole circumstances, and taking account of your record of previous convictions, limited as it is, I consider a sentence of 8 years’ imprisonment would have been appropriate. From that starting point of 8 years I have to deduct the element which is attributable to the protection of the public. I deduct 1 year for that, taking the figure down to 7 years. I then have to take account of the early release rules. That means that the period of 7 years falls to be reduced to 3 years 6 months. I also require to take account of the fact that you have pled guilty. You first offered to tender the plea at a late stage in the proceedings - on 11 March 2022. At a continued preliminary hearing on 13 September 2021 a dedicated floating trial diet had been fixed for 24 June 2022 at Glasgow. Although the plea was offered late in the day, it was still more than 3 months before the trial diet. It had some utility and you are entitled to credit for that, so I shall reduce the 3 years 6 months to 3 years 2 months. That is the punishment part which I set for you.

Your sentence will be backdated to 24 May 2018 when you first appeared in court in connection with this offence.

Due to the very prolonged procedural history of this case you have in fact already been on remand for over 4 years - longer than the punishment part which I have imposed. That does not mean that you will now be released. As I have said, the punishment part is just the minimum time that you require to serve before the Life Prisoner Tribunal could even consider the possibility of recommending to the Scottish Ministers that you be released. Whether or not you should be released in the future will be for the Tribunal to recommend and for the Scottish Ministers to decide if an application for that is made. You would only be released if it was no longer necessary for the protection of the public from the risk of serious harm that you continue to be confined in prison.

You will be subject to the notification requirements of Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for the remainder of your life."