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HMA v Graeme Scott


Feb 20, 2023

At the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Arthurson imposed an extended sentence of 14 years on Graeme Scott, after the offender pled guilty to threatening to disclose images which shows, or appears to show, another person in an intimate situation, sending indecent communications and threats of sexual violence.

On sentencing Lord Arthurson made the following remarks in court:

"Graeme Scott, this morning the court requires to sentence you on two indictments which were remitted by the sheriff at Dumbarton on 14 December 2022.  On 27 September 2022 at a first diet you pled guilty on indictment DB21001450 to a single charge libelling a contravention of section 39(1) of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.  

When that indictment called again on 26 October 2022 you were remanded in custody by the sheriff.  On 13 December 2022 at a continued first diet you pled guilty on a separate indictment DB21002227 to charge one, being a charge libelling a contravention of section 2(1) of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016, and charge four, being a charge libelling a contravention of section 7(1) of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.  On that date you were on that indictment further remanded in custody by the sheriff.

When on 18 January 2023 the case called in this court following the remit procedure, the diet was adjourned for sentence on both indictments until today on the motion of your senior counsel for the preparation of a global criminal justice social work report and risk assessment in terms of section 210A of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.  That report, dated 16 February 2023, is now available.  For completeness, an earlier criminal justice social work report dated 24 October 2022, prepared by the same author, and a forensic clinical psychology report dated 30 November 2022 by Professor MacPherson had been available to the sheriff in respect of the single charge indictment only. I confirm that I have had sight of these reports also.

The index offending in these cases was very much towards, in my view, the highest levels of gravity for non‑contact sexual offending charged on indictment.  The offending on the single charge indictment related to several weeks of sustained telephone calls and WhatsApp messages containing threats to stab, slash and rape the complainer.  The calls were regularly accompanied by the sound of you committing a sexual act.  Some calls were heard by the complainer’s daughter; additionally, some messages involved sexual remarks about the complainer’s daughter.  On the second indictment the offending involved a different complainer and was again committed by you over a sustained period.  You sent obscene messages and sexual images of the complainer to her 11 year old daughter, having threatened to disclose these.  This offending culminated in an obscene telephone call to the complainer, including what was plainly a threat of sexual violence, and further repeated calls.  It is obvious that you committed all of this offending in order to obtain perverted sexual gratification without any regard to the serious harm which you were thereby inflicting on your victims.

You are now aged 40.  Significantly, your criminal record discloses, inter alia, a conviction on indictment in respect of a series of five charges of threatening and abusive behaviour online all with a sexual aggravation and all but one with a racial aggravation, the victims in four of these charges being children, one male and three female, between the ages of 13 and 16.  In that case I am informed that you took no responsibility for your actions and engaged in victim blaming.

Dr MacPherson in his report concluded that you present a high risk of analogous offending, and he associated your behaviour primarily with impulsivity, deviant sexual arousal to rape themes, misogyny, relationship problems and disinhibition via substances.  The author of the criminal justice social work and risk assessment report has in turn concluded that you present a high risk of sexual reoffending.  She has reported that you have minimal insight into how to manage your offending and has expressed the view that it is unlikely that you have any real remorse for your conduct.  On your own account you committed all of your sexual offending when disinhibited by the use of alcohol.  The author reports that there are no protective factors in your case.  Your risk is assessed to be extremely difficult to manage in the community.  In the author’s view you continue to pose a risk to public protection, particularly in respect of adult females and children.

I have listened with care to the submissions advanced this morning in mitigation on your behalf by your senior counsel, and note in particular what has been said by her regarding the merits of imposing an extended sentence in your case together with a series of protective ancillary measures which in combination would serve to mark the gravity of your offending and protect the public. Your senior counsel submitted that you have to date led an unremarkable life and that you have supportive parents, one of whom is undergoing treatment for serious illness. You have, I have been advised, not received resources to support you in employment and structured leisure activities. The staged approach offered by an extended sentence would allow such input and aid your future integration into the community.

Turning now to disposal, it is clear from the gravity of the offending before the court, and from your relevant 2017 conviction for sexual offending on indictment, that only a very significant custodial sentence is appropriate. Notwithstanding that conviction and the imposition of an extended sentence, you have continued to commit sexual crimes against multiple females who have little or no connection with you.  On the basis of the extensive available risk assessment material and having regard to the index offending and to your said recent criminal history, it is accordingly clear that the normal period of licence would not be adequate to protect the public from serious harm from you in the event of your release in due course.  Today I will accordingly be imposing upon you a further extended sentence, albeit in more substantial terms than the last one.  This sentence will be in two parts.  The first part will be custodial.  This will reflect the sentencing purposes of punishment, deterrence and retribution.  The second part will comprise an extension period, when you will be under supervision while on licence in the community.  The conditions of your licence will be set by Scottish Ministers.  If you fail to comply with these conditions during this extension period your licence will be revoked and you may be returned to custody for a further period in respect of the indictment upon which I am imposing the extended sentence.  The court also has power to deal with you if you commit a further offence after your release from the custodial part of this sentence and while you are on licence and under supervision.  You are a highly dangerous individual. The extension period in your case, standing the level and nature of the risk presented by you, will accordingly in your case require to be a very lengthy one.  It is to be hoped that such a significant extension period will considerably assist your successful re‑integration into the community in due course.

I propose to approach the sentencing exercise on these indictments in this way, standing the procedural background which I have narrated and having regard additionally to the important sentencing principle of totality.  On indictment DB21001450, you will on charge one on that indictment serve a determinate sentence of imprisonment of 3 years, discounted from a period of 4 years due to the timing of your guilty plea.  This sentence will be backdated to 26 October 2022.  On indictment DB21002227, you will on an in cumulo basis on charges one and four serve an extended sentence of 14 years duration, comprising a custodial part of 6 years discounted from a period of 7 years and 6 months due to the timing of your pleas of guilty, and thereafter an extension period of 8 years.  This sentence will be backdated to 13 December 2022.

As a result of these disposals you will henceforth be subject to the notification requirements contained in Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.  My perusal of the minutes in the sheriff court indicates that the sheriff made the appropriate certification on indictment DB21001450 on 27 September 2022, but that on indictment DB21002227 the sheriff does not appear to have done so when guilty pleas were tendered on 13 December 2022.  For the avoidance of doubt, this court now so certifies in respect of charges one and four on that indictment.

Under reference to section 7 of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007, in the whole circumstances I deem it appropriate to direct the clerk of court today to notify Scottish Ministers of the convictions and disposals on both indictments."