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HMA v Terrance Lowe


Aug 2, 2023

At Glasgow Sheriff Court today, Sheriff Bonnar sentenced Terrance Lowe to 270 hours of unpaid work after he pled guilty to domestic abuse.

Sheriff Bonnar told Lowe:

“Terrance Lowe, you have pled guilty to assaulting your partner on 4 occasions between 2011 and 2013. As well as assaulting her you verbally abused her, threatened her with violence and threatened to kill a family dog.

I heard a full narration of the facts at the time of your plea. I will briefly review some important aspects of the charges you have pled guilty to.

In 2011 you pushed your partner’s head into a wall causing a lump to form. She left and went to her mother’s home. In 2012 you pushed her onto a couch and struck her hard to her ribs. This caused her such pain that she begged to leave. She went to her brother’s ex-partner’s home and then attended hospital.

In 2013 on one occasion you struck her on the head and verbally abused her. You tried to make out it was a joke. On another occasion in 2013 the complainer was due to give birth in 9 days. You woke her up to demand that she socialise with your friends, you seized hold of her arm and threatened to throw her down the stairs causing her to leave and go to her mother’s home.

You exercised coercive control over your partner by limiting her time in the shower and discouraging her from wearing make-up.

In 2016 you were in Iraq. If the complainer did not reply to text messages you sent follow up messages threatening divorce.

Within the descriptions of incidents I was told that you called her names using vile and demeaning terms. Towards the end of the relationship you regularly made hurtful and reprehensible remarks.

I was also told that on other occasions you were apologetic.

After appearing in court you repeatedly contacted your partner by e-mail. These e-mails were a breach of your bail conditions as no direct contact was allowed.

These offences took place over a period of around ten years.

I am sentencing you today on the basis of your plea to the charges as set out above. The original charges against you were very much more serious. If I was sentencing on the original charges in this case I would have had no option but to impose a substantial prison term.

Nevertheless, the charges which you have pled guilty to, still represent a significant course of Domestic Abuse. It is clear from the victim impact statement that your behaviour had a terrible effect on the victim who was already vulnerable. They are serious and indeed serious enough that the threshold for custody is passed.

You are not a first offender but your record is limited to 5 summary cases. There are 3 cases between 2002 and 2006 and 2 minor road traffic matters in 2009 and 2016. I take particular note of your conviction for Domestic assault but I take into account that it was committed in 2006 and that you were admonished by the court. All other matters were dealt with by fines or road traffic penalties. You have never had a community based disposal such as a community payback order.

You have not had a custodial sentence before. In terms of section 204 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 a court must not impose a prison sentence on someone who has not had a prison sentence before, unless no other method of dealing with the person is appropriate. In other words I must consider whether there is an appropriate alternative available to me such as a community payback order.

In arriving at my sentence in this case I have had regard to the principles and purposes of sentencing as determined by the Scottish Sentencing Council. These guidelines provide that the court must consider the purposes of sentencing as set out by the Council and the core principles of fairness and proportionality.

In a case of this nature the court will always consider a non-harassment order for the protection of the complainer. The Crown support such an order and I will return to that issue.

I have given careful consideration to all that your solicitor, Mr Hannah has said today and previously. I take account as one factor among many that you served your country through military service for 18 years. I note from the psychologist’s report produced by Mr Hannah that you suffered moderately severe PTSD and low mood.

I have carefully considered the Criminal Justice Social Work Report. I note that you would be suitable for the Caledonian Programme but for your work commitments whereby you are regularly stationed abroad. To force you to give up that work would have a knock on financial effect on your family. The same issue affects the potential imposition of an electronic tag under a restriction of liberty order.

You are suitable for a community payback order with unpaid work and supervision and a conduct requirement. I am advised that these requirements have been explained to you, that you understand them, and that you are willing to comply with them.

Having taking account of the charges before me, your record and all of the information, submissions and reports available to me, I consider that a community payback order which will be a direct alternative to a prison sentence, is an appropriate alternative to custody in this case. If you breach the order you will be liable to be sentenced again. It appears to me that I have used all the options available to the court and therefore, if the order is breached, a period in prison would be an obvious and almost inevitable outcome.

I therefore impose a community payback order with supervision for a period of 2 years, a conduct requirement as set out in the criminal justice social work report for 2 years and 270 hours unpaid work to be completed within 12 months. The number of hours have been modified from 300 hours to take account of the plea tendered at Trial.

Returning to the question of a non-harassment order. I have applied sections 234A and 234ZA of the 1995 Act. I consider it is appropriate to impose such an order and I will impose that order for 5 years prohibiting you from having contact with the complainer except through a solicitor and you must not enter the street in which the complainer lives.”

2 August 2023