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HMA v Barry Simon Peter Easton Cassidy


Nov 24, 2023

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lady Poole imposed an extended sentence of 6 and a half years on Barry Cassidy for serious assaults on two children. The offender will spend 4 and a half years in prison and 2 years on licence in the community.

On sentencing, Lady Poole said:

“Barry Simon Peter Easton Cassidy, at the High Court in Edinburgh on 26 October 2023, you pled guilty to three aggravated assaults of two children. 

When one child was three years old you assaulted them by holding a knife to their neck.  Two days later, while out in the park you again assaulted the child, shouting, dragging and pushing them.  You then strangled the child by tightening a scarf round their neck. They were left with injuries round the circumference of their neck and on their cheek. 

In between these two attacks, you also assaulted a teenager in the home where they lived.  You pinned them down on a sofa, put a cord round their neck, and tightened it.  You threatened to kill them, saying they were not going to tell anyone.  Their breathing was restricted to the potential danger of their life.  They recall the attack lasting for minutes, and thinking they were going to die.  It only stopped because the family dog attacked you, in their defence.    

These are despicable offences.  It is a disgrace to inflict this type of violence and behaviour on children.  I have read a victim impact statement about the effects of what you did, which have been serious and long lasting.  It appears you may have been under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit substances at the time of your offending, but that is no excuse.   

Your record of previous convictions is appalling.  You have been convicted of various offences on about 20 occasions, including numerous convictions for violent offending.  This is not the first time you have assaulted a child.  Another of your previous assaults caused severe injury and you served a sentence of 3 years imprisonment with a 12 month supervised release order.  You have served a number of other sentences of imprisonment in the past.  Your record includes other assaults and multiple breaches of bail and other court orders.

You pled guilty on the first day of the trial diet. Your guilty plea saved witnesses having to give evidence.  I give you credit for that plea by reducing the custodial part of the sentence I will impose by one tenth. 

I have had regard to the criminal justice social work report I ordered. You have clearly had a difficult upbringing.  It is to your credit you managed to attain some qualifications and have some history of employment in the construction industry.   You have a number of medical conditions.  You also have a history of substance abuse.

I have also taken into account all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation.

Nonetheless convictions for the violence you inflicted on children in this case must attract a significant prison sentence.

Because of the nature of these offences and your previous convictions, I do not consider that ordinary conditions of release will be sufficient to protect the public from serious harm from you.  I have decided to impose an extended sentence on you.  This will be in two parts, a custodial part and an extension period after your release from custody, during which you will be subject to a licence, the conditions of which will be set by the Scottish Ministers. Breach of any of these conditions will make you liable to be recalled to serve out the whole of the sentence in custody. I impose an extended sentence of 6 ½ years.  This has a custodial part of 4 ½ years, which has been reduced from a headline of 5 years imprisonment for your guilty plea, and an extension period of 2 years.   This sentence is a cumulo sentence, covering all three charges, and is backdated to 12 March 2022. 

Your name has been added to the lists of persons deemed unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups.

Finally, the Crown moved for a non-harassment order in respect of the younger child because you have been convicted of offences involving misconduct towards them.  I would have considered such an order to be appropriate, and granted a non-harassment order preventing you from approaching or contacting the child until they are 16, subject to letterbox contact at Christmas and on the child’s birthday, but for the referral that has already been made to the Children’s hearing.  The Children’s hearing has already prohibited contact.  It has fixed review dates.  The case is likely to remain before the Children’s hearing for some time.  In those circumstances, I am not persuaded on the balance of probabilities it is appropriate to make a non-harassment order, because the Children’s hearing is an appropriate place to consider the issue of contact.”