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HMA v Kieron McKinlay Sullivan


Apr 26, 2024

At the High Court in Glasgow today, Lady Drummond imposed an order of lifelong restriction on Kieron McKinlay Sullivan after the offender pled guilty to sexual offences. Sullivan will serve a minimum punishment period of 18 months in prison.

On sentencing, Lady Drummond told Sullivan:

“Mr Sullivan, you plead guilty on 4 September 2023 in the Sheriff Court to 3 charges on indictment, charges 1, 3 and 5. These are all sexual offences committed within 3 days between 31 March 2023 and 2 April 2023. You engaged in sexual activity in public, exposing yourself and masturbating. On two of the occasions you did so in the presence of females who were strangers to you. They were within their homes where you presented yourself outside their windows.

The Sheriff transferred your case to the High Court to deal with these offences and to consider whether or not to make a risk assessment order, something that only the High Court can do. I made such an order and have been provided with a risk assessment report.

You committed these offences when you were 22 years of age. You are now 23. You have a significant criminal record with 29 previous convictions within a relatively short period beginning when you were 16 years old.  These include crimes of violence: assault and robbery, assaults to severe injury and assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement, possession of offensive weapons including a metal pole and knife and breach of court orders.   You have been in and out of detention and prison almost continuously since you were 16.  

On 30 September 2022 for the first time you were convicted of sexual offences. The majority of those were similar to the current offences and involved you exposing yourself and masturbating in public whilst staring into properties where women were present. One of those involved you approaching a 71-year-old woman in her garden grabbing her breasts from behind putting your hand over her mouth and pressing yourself against her repeatedly saying you needed a shag.

For those offences, the Sheriff initially imposed a community payback order for 3 years but on 22 August 2023 that order was revoked and the Sheriff subsequently imposed an extended sentence with a custodial period of 27 months backdated to 22 February 2021 and an extension period of 18 months.

The very next day after you were released on a community payback order, and two days after that, you committed the sexual offences before this Court today.

The author of the criminal justice and social work report obtained by the Sheriff concluded that you cannot be managed in the community because of the risk you pose. You are assessed as a maximum risk of general reoffending. The author had serious and significant concerns about your reoffending and in terms of public protection. She suggested that the Court might consider obtaining a risk assessment report which the Court subsequently ordered.

The risk assessor highlights that your sexual offending includes contact and non-contact offending against females from young to old and people that are both known to you and strangers. Your offending has escalated in frequency over a short period of time. Violence was part of your sexual offending and present when you grabbed hold of a 71-year-old female stranger from behind and restricted her breathing with your hand.

The risk assessor identifies that you have been violently offending and committing offences since you were 16. You have had social work input since childhood. You have breached court orders and continued to offend.  She identifies many risk factors including your sexual pre-occupation and attitudes that condone sexual and general violence. There are few protective factors.

The assessor’s opinion is that the risk you pose is of a violent or sexually violent nature. The assessment is that it is your physical violence that would cause the highest levels of harm and would be likely to be perpetrated against anyone whether strangers or those known to you. Whilst it has been difficult to assess the severity of your future sexual offending, the assessment is that you are highly likely to continue to sexually offend with moderate harm and that your sexual offending could escalate to much higher levels of harm. Overall the risk you present to the safety of the public if at liberty is high.

I have to decide, having regard to the risk assessment report and all other relevant information, whether the risk criteria are met. That is, I have to decide whether the nature of, or the circumstances of the commission of, the offences of which you have been convicted either in themselves or as part of a pattern of behaviour are such as to demonstrate that there is a likelihood that you will, if at liberty, seriously endanger the lives, or physical or psychological well-being, of members of the public at large.

I have taken into account all that has been said on your behalf by Ms Anderson. I have taken into account your traumatic childhood, your immaturity and your young age. I have taken into account your personal circumstances as narrated in all the reports before me. I have had regard to the psychiatric reports too.

I have carefully considered the submission that Ms Anderson made on your behalf that the public can be adequately protected by the imposition of an extended sentence. In particular I have considered the argument that the risk criteria have not been met because there is no link between the current offences before the court (whether in themselves or as part of a pattern of offending of which they form part) and the likelihood that the lives or physical or psychological well-being of the public will be seriously endangered.

I have concluded that there is a link between the current offences and the risk that you pose. You committed the offences before this court immediately on release from prison and made subject to a community payback order. They are of the same nature, and the circumstances of commission are similar to, the sexual offences that you had been put on the community payback order for. Those earlier offences included public exposure, masturbation and also sexual assaults.  The risk of seriously endangering the public at large arises from the fact that the offences before this court form part of a pattern of sexual, sexually violent and violent behaviour committed by you against members of the public over a sustained period.

Having regard to the risk assessment report and all the information before me, I am satisfied that, on a balance of probabilities, the risk criteria are met. I therefore make an order for lifelong restriction. That order constitutes a sentence of imprisonment for an indeterminate period. 

I am required to set a minimum period which you must spend in custody before you are entitled to apply to the Parole Board to be released on licence.

This period is known as the punishment part. It is intended to satisfy the requirements of punishment and deterrence. Had I been imposing a determinate sentence it would have been a cumulo extended sentence with a custodial period of 48 months and an extension period of 10 years.  The extension period would have reflected the element required for the protection of the public. I apply a discount to the 48 month period because you pled guilty at a continued first diet which brings the period to 36 months. That period is then halved to give a punishment part of 18 months which will be backdated to 3 April 2023 when you were on remand.

Please be clear, however, that the sentence imposed today is not a sentence of 18 months imprisonment.  It is instead an order for lifelong restriction, which is a sentence of imprisonment for an indeterminate period.  You will not be eligible to apply for parole until the punishment part has been served and you must not assume that you will be automatically released at that time.  You will be released only when the parole board determines that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you should continue to be confined in prison. 

You will be subject to the notification requirements applicable to sex offenders for an indefinite period. The Scottish Ministers will be notified of your convictions.”

26 April 2024