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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.
Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.
HMA v Duncan Roy Houston
Nov 29, 2023
On sentencing, Lady Drummond told Houston:
"Mr Houston you were convicted by the jury of both charges on this indictment. You used indecent behaviour towards a girl aged between 4 and 11 years on various occasions. You repeatedly raped her during that same period. These offences occurred over 20 years ago when you were in your thirties. The complainer at one stage of her evidence states that these offences occurred too many times to count.
You pled guilty in 2002 to raping that same young child in 2000 on one occasion when she was 10 years old. You also pled guilty to indecent behaviour towards a second young child between 1998 and 1999 when she was aged between 10 and 11 years and in 2002 to sexually assaulting a third child aged 16. You were ultimately sentenced to 8 years imprisonment in 2002 for those offences, which took into account that you had pled guilty at the first opportunity.
The impact of these offences on the complainer is likely to have been, and to continue to be, wide ranging and life changing. You were in a position of trust in relation to a young child. You repeatedly behaved indecently towards her and repeatedly raped her. You subjected her to significant harm to fulfil your own needs and without any thought for the serious and lifelong impact on her.
You continue to deny all responsibility for all of the offences before me today. You have expressed no remorse and blame the complainer.
You are aged 59. I have taken into account the criminal justice and social work report and all that has been said on your behalf this morning by Ms Connor. You have been in the army and regular employment up until 2019, other than when serving your previous sentence. You have difficulties with your own life as is set out in the report including in your childhood and following your experience in the army. You have misused alcohol in the past and at the time of your offending. There are a significant number of risk factors highlighted in the reports. You are assessed as suitable for carrying out the Moving Forward Making Changes Programme. You have committed no further offending since your release from your custodial sentence.
These are very serious sexual offences against a young child in your care and the only appropriate sentence is a custodial one. The purpose is punishment for your offending and to mark society’s abhorrence of it.
In determining the length of sentence I have taken into account that you have already served an 8 year prison sentence from 2002 in relation to similar offences within the same time period, one of which involved
the same complainer. I have taken into account what sentence might have been imposed by the Court had the offences from 2002 and the matters before me today all been sentenced at the same time. I have considered the totality of your sentence. Had you been sentenced for all matters together, a sentence of 12 years would have been appropriate, recognising that you pled guilty to only some of those offences. Since you have already served an 8 year sentence, I will impose in relation to the matters before me today, a sentence of 4 years imprisonment backdated to 19 October 2023 when you were first on remand.
You will remain subject to the notification requirements applicable to sex offenders for an indefinite period, and your name will be added to the list of persons deemed unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups."29.11.23