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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.

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HMA v Sean Mitchell


Aug 22, 2023

At the High Court in Livingston today, Judge Craig sentenced Sean Mitchell to 6 years and 6 months in prison. Mitchell had earlier been found guilty of rape, sexual abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour. He has also been added to the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.

On sentencing, Judge Craig told Mitchell:

“You were unanimously found guilty after trial of two charges – one of coercive and controlling behaviour involving physical and emotional abuse as well as financial and serious sexual abuse, and a separate charge of rape to injury. You were in an intimate relationship with your victim who was a young, vulnerable person. While that relationship lasted for a matter of a few weeks, the abuse started almost straight away and only stopped when your victim was finally able to throw you out.

I have read the victim impact statement who describes your offending as having a profound emotional and psychological impact on her.

Neither at trial nor in the criminal justice social work report do you acknowledge or accept your guilt and instead blame your victim. That has made it difficult to assess your level of risk. However in selecting sentence I have had regard to the lack of any previous convictions and that there does not appear to be broader background of domestic violence. I am therefore satisfied that a determinate sentence is appropriate albeit it that you will be monitored in the community once you are finally released on license.

In selecting the length of the sentence I have taken into account your age, both now and at the time of the offences, and having regard to the sentencing guidelines, impose a cumulo sentence of six years and six months – six months of which relates to the aggravation on charge 2. That will be backdated to the date of your remand in custody 25 July 2023. 

You will remain subject to the notification requirements applicable to sex offenders for an indefinite period, and your name will be added to the lists of persons deemed unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups.”

22 August 2023