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HMA v Callum Gordon


Mar 25, 2024

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Braid imposed a 16 year extended sentence on Callum Gordon. The offender had been found guilty of physical and sexual abuse of 3 women. He will spend 12 years in prison with a further 4 years on licence in the community. Gordon has also been issued with non-harassment orders and added to the Sex Offenders Register.

(Some of the remarks have been edited to protect the identities of the victims)

On sentencing, Lord Braid told Gordon:

“Callum Gordon, you were convicted by the jury of an appalling course of sustained criminal conduct, consisting of serious domestic abuse of three former partners.  I find it unnecessary to repeat the details; suffice to say that all three of your victims spoke in strikingly similar terms of how you would control them, monitor what they were doing, how you would falsely accuse them of infidelity and coerce them into unwanted sexual activity with you; you would threaten and abuse them in a variety of ways. 

You also assaulted each of your victims, in two instances by grabbing hold of their necks and exerting pressure, a potentially dangerous and frightening form of assault, and two of your victims you raped repeatedly.  When you finished a relationship with one partner, you would treat your next partner in the same way.  Your victims were all, in their own way, vulnerable.    

You continue to deny at least the serious elements of your offending, as you did in your evidence, but the jury rejected your account and plainly believed all three victims.  It is clear both from the evidence you gave in court and from the terms of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report that you show no insight into your offending behaviour, and that you continue to blame your victims for “pressing your buttons”, refusing to take responsibility for your own actions.  You have shown no real remorse.

You have a lengthy schedule of previous convictions, which includes by my calculations 15 offences with a domestic abuse aggravation, including assaults, abusive behaviour and breaches of bail, and your record shows that you have scant regard for orders of the court.  

Your offending is bound to have caused serious and lasting psychological harm to all of your victims.  Confirmation of that, should it be needed, comes from the victim statements of  two of your victims, in which they each describe the lasting effect your behaviour has had on them, even after all this time. 

The Criminal Justice Social Work report discloses that your health is generally fine.  There is no specific risk assessment, but given the period of time over which you have offended against three different women, the nature of your offending, and the fact that you have breached non-harassment orders which have previously been made, I have no difficulty in concluding that you pose a serious risk to any woman with whom you happen to be in a relationship.

I take all that has been said on your behalf into account.  However the gravity of the offending is such that only a significant custodial sentence is appropriate, the sentencing objectives being punishment, deterrence, protection of the public and rehabilitation.   The aggravating features are the fact that you offended against three different women, the length of time over which the offending occurred, and the fact that your offending involved domestic abuse.  You clearly pose a risk to women.  Your culpability is at the higher end of the scale, and you caused significant harm to your victims. 

Before telling you what period in custody you will have to serve, I must add that having regard to the nature of your offending, and to the terms of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report, I am satisfied that the ordinary conditions of release will be insufficient to protect the public from serious harm from you.  I am therefore going to pass an extended sentence.  This will be in two parts, a custodial element 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 hope that you will take the opportunities this sentence will give you to address the issues which have contributed to your offending, as Mr Allan has said you will do.

Turning to consider the length of that sentence, taking into account the factors I have already mentioned, the custodial term will be a cumulo one of 12 years on charges 1, 3, 8, 10, 14, 15, 16 and 18.  On charge 12, which carries a statutory maximum of 5 years, I will impose a concurrent sentence of 2 years imprisonment.  Since I have already taken the fact of domestic abuse into account in arriving at that sentence, I have not attributed any specific part of the sentence to the domestic abuse aggravation in charges 16 and 18.

 As regards the extension element, I consider it should be four years.  Accordingly, the total extended sentence passed on you today is one of 16 years.

I will backdate this sentence to 24 May 2022.

As regards a non-harassment order, I  will make such an order, specifically that you shall not by any means, either directly or indirectly including by electronic means or through social media, contact or attempt to contact the three complainers identified. This order will subsist for an indefinite period.

Finally in consequence of this sentence you will be subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indeterminate period.”