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HMA v Kenneth Divers


Jun 21, 2023

At Paisley Sheriff Court, Sheriff Brian Mohan sentenced Kenneth Divers to a period of 5 years imprisonment for five charges of sexual abuse towards pupils while he was a teacher at a secondary school.

In sentencing, Sheriff Mohan made the following remarks:

“Kenneth Divers, this offending took place between 1968 and 1992. You were found guilty by the jury of five charges involving four separate victims. In respect of some of the boys you befriended their families while carrying out your abuse in private. This was behaviour now recognised as grooming. It was clear that your actions towards these boys, now all mature men, had a devastating impact on some of them. I have read the victim impact statements carefully prepared by each of the individuals. These are moving and detailed accounts of the effect which your abusive behaviour had on them. Each of the victims has been able to open up about the shame, embarrassment, and guilt which they felt. Of course, they should not have felt such shame because they were the victims and it was you who was the abuser.

The Criminal Justice Social Work Report confirms that you show concern for no one but yourself. In the preparation of the report you continued to deny your involvement in this offending. You concocted the preposterous idea that these men, who did not know each other, who were at school years apart, and who now live in different parts of the country, got together just to make trouble for you.

The witnesses in this trial all showed strength and courage in giving evidence. Some of them have carried a burden for decades. The statements prepared by three of them - and their evidence before the jury – demonstrate that they have tried to blot out the memories, sometimes with self-destructive behaviour. Several of the witnesses expressed difficulty in forming or sustaining intimate relationships.

However, they have all shown bravery in speaking to the police and in giving evidence about these dark episodes from their past. Your victims may take some comfort from knowing that all members of the jury believed them, especially since the fear of not being believed was what held them back from reporting this in the first place. They may take comfort also from knowing that their identities remain private so that they may now try and recover from this abuse with their privacy respected.

Finally, they may take comfort from knowing that you have been brought to justice for your crimes.

These offences were committed by you over many years while you were a teacher and football coach in a position of trust. The Criminal Justice Social Work Report reveals significant concerns. You have shown a shocking indifference in your discussion about these charges. Despite your attempts to evade justice for so long, when it came to the trial you had very little to say when you gave evidence. You took only 20 minutes to try and dismiss all these allegations as a fabrication.

The position was summed up by one of your victims who now lives in England when he stated the following:

'The many good things Kenneth Divers has done in his life will now rightly be expunged from the memory of most. His enduring legacy will be that of a powerful man who knowingly took advantage of those who trusted, believed, and even liked him, manipulating them into a pretence that what he was doing to them was for their benefit.'

In fact, all along, your abusive behaviour was carried out to satisfy your own depraved desires. The report prepared prior to sentence indicates that you are unsuitable for any non-custodial disposal. Given the gravity of the offending, the breach of trust, and the significant impact on multiple victims, there is no realistic alternative to a custodial sentence.

Your bail was revoked on 14 October 2022 and you have remained in custody since that date. In all the circumstances I consider that it is appropriate that the sentence I impose is the maximum period available to me in the sheriff court.

You will serve a period of 5 years imprisonment and this will be backdated to 14 October 2022. You will also be made subject to the Sexual Offender Notification Requirements for an indefinite period.”

21 June 2023