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Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.
HMA v Mohammad Taheen Abrar Chowdhury
Jan 25, 2024
On sentencing, Judge Watson told Chowdhury:
“Mohammad Chowdhury you were convicted by the jury on each of charges 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 on the indictment, charges which include the rape of a teenage girl in Dumfries on a date in September or October 2020, and the attempted rape of another teenage girl, also in Dumfries, in February 2021. In relation to the first of those incidents you had been in a relationship with the girl concerned and, on the date in question, she placed trust in you as she walked with you to an isolated spot where you then abused that trust by seizing hold of her and committing the act of which you have been convicted.
Having committed that crime of rape in the autumn of 2020 you then, only months later, while significantly under the influence of alcohol at a party in a house in the Dumfries area, again took advantage of the trust placed in you by a teenage girl who had gone into a bathroom with you concerned over your welfare due to your condition. As before you took advantage of this trust in an attempt to commit the crime of rape. Fortunately on this occasion your victim had the presence of mind and the ability to make her escape from the room before you could succeed.
You were also convicted of charges related to your generally abusive conduct towards the victim in the course of the relationship which had taken place, of an assault on that victim, and in relation to an episode of concerning behaviour towards a young male who was likely to be a witness in these proceedings, this last matter being committed while you were on bail. These matters, related to your general behaviour over the period are matters of concern, but are significantly less serious than the sexual offences of which you were convicted.
Your denial of guilt was rejected by the jury. Both in the course of trial and in the course of interview with the appointed social workers you show little sign of empathy towards your victims who have suffered badly at your hands and who will inevitably be deeply affected in the long term by the conduct suffered on the occasions described.
I am bound to have regard in sentencing to the gravity of the crimes of rape and attempted rape and to the level of harm such crimes cause to the victims. I am also bound to have regard to the fact that your sexual offending occurred on more than one occasion and towards more than one victim. Ordinarily the seriousness of these matters would require the imposition of a sentence of a very significant length reflecting the need for appropriate punishment, deterrence and management of risk. In this case however the sentence I impose is very much shorter than that which otherwise would be required of me, having regard to your youth then and indeed now.
You are presently only 20 years of age and in fact were aged between 16 and 18 years at the time you committed these offences. It was readily apparent from the descriptions of your conduct during the course of trial that you were an immature youth at the time you engaged in this behaviour. It is clear from the terms of the report that you were then, and remain now, someone who presents as immature emotionally, socially and in terms of personal development. I am drawn to the conclusion that your commission of the crimes concerned appears to have been driven by impulsivity rather than planning. The writer of the report is optimistic that the prospect of you being successfully rehabilitated into society may be high. She concludes that there is good reason to think that you are capable of future desistance, perhaps with education, with support, and with the family support which is likely to remain available to you on release from custody.
In all the circumstances I am satisfied that, notwithstanding the conduct of which you have been convicted, there is merit in the assessment by social workers that you do not pose a significant risk of harm for the future. I am satisfied that the test for an extended sentence in terms of section 210A of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 is not met in this case.
Accordingly, having regard to rehabilitation as a primary concern of this court, whilst balancing that against the recognition of the gravity of the conduct and its repetition, I conclude that a period of detention is necessary but that this can be restricted for the reasons I have stated to one of 54 months in total.
I would have considered the imposition of an in cumulo disposal to cover all the charges, however for reasons related to the calculation of the registration period this is inappropriate. I therefore impose concurrent sentences of detention on the charges as follows:
on charge 2, abusive behaviour, 12 months detention ;
on charge 3, the rape charge, 54 months detention;
on charge 4, assault, 12 months detention;
on charge 5, the charge of attempted rape, 54 months detention;
on charge 7, vandalism while on bail, 6 months detention.
The sentence of 54 months detention imposed will be backdated to the date on which I remanded you in custody, that being 7 December 2023.
As a consequence of conviction and sentence on charges 3 and 5 you will be subject to registration in terms of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 indefinitely. Finally in relation to the victims of both sexual crimes I impose non-harassment orders for a period of 8 years with conditions that you do not contact either victim in any manner whatsoever nor approach within 50 metres of either of them at any time or place. You should understand that a breach of either order could result in your return to custody.”
25 January 2024