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HMA v Stewart McIntosh McQuade Kennedy


Jun 14, 2024

At the High Court in Glasgow today, Lord Scott sentenced Stewart McIntosh McQuade Kennedy to an extended sentence of 9 years, made up of a 7 years custodial term and 2 years on licence in the community. Kennedy had been found guilty of 15 charges, including violence and sexual offences. He has been issued with non-harassment orders and added to the sex offenders register.

On sentencing, Lord Scott told Kennedy:

“On 27 February at Falkirk Sheriff Court, you were found guilty by jury of 15 charges.  Taken together, they reflect a serious course of violent, threatening and abusive behaviour towards 5 of your former partners.  Your offending also includes sexual crimes against former partners as well as the 17 year old who was 16 years younger than you at the time.

The Sheriff who presided over your trial considered, rightly, that his sentencing powers were inadequate to deal with your appalling catalogue of abuse. Having heard all the evidence, including yours, and seen the CJSWR, he thought that it might be necessary to consider a form of life sentence in your case by way of an Order for Lifelong Restriction.

Looking at the indictment, the charges involve the physical, emotional and psychological abuse of your partners from 1998 to 2022, a period of 24 years starting when you were only 13 but continuing to the age of 37.  You behaved in a controlling and coercive manner towards your partners with acts of self-harm, threats of suicide and threats that their children would be removed used as manipulations to get your own way.  Even police involvement did not stop your abuse. Your victims felt themselves trapped in abusive relationships with you.  

It is well known that the consequences of sexual and serious domestic abuse for victims or survivors can be significant and lifelong. I have seen Victim Impact Statements which confirm the serious and continuing effects of your behaviour.

I note also that your offending also includes an act of violence in September 2022 towards the brother of your current partner while subject to a bail order. A Community Payback Order was imposed. 

Before passing sentence, I asked for a supplementary criminal justice social work report with a detailed risk assessment.  This was with a view to considering whether it was appropriate or necessary to impose an extended sentence. 

I note that you suffered some adverse childhood experiences. As Mr Smith suggested, the fact that your offending started when you were a child yourself is a factor in determining the blame to be attached to that behaviour. On the other hand, as the behaviour continued well into adulthood, it is not a factor that can be given much weight at all.

I now have the detailed risk assessment.  I note that you maintained in interview with the author of the report that you are innocent.  Despite overwhelming evidence, you maintain that you have done nothing criminal. You claim that your victims have lied to secure compensation.  Of course, the jury concluded that it was you who was lying to try to continue to avoid the consequences of abusive behaviour in which you have engaged unhindered for 24 years from childhood across your entire adult life. 

The Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA V3) assesses you “as a high risk of harm towards [his] ex-partners and future partners. The assessment identified that [your] domestic abuse has varied in nature, including intimidation, threats and physical harm.’

You accept engaging in only relatively minor conduct.  You have failed to acknowledge the true extent of your behaviour in any meaningful way.  This means that you have displayed no insight into how or why you behaved as you did.  You have shown not a shred of real remorse. There is very little sign yet of any prospect of change.

You have minimised, denied and lied.  You have tried to blame your victims.  I must therefore proceed to sentence on the basis that you are unrepentant and lacking in any insight into the considerable damage that you have caused to others, in particular your former partners, for over 2 decades. 

The question of serious risk of harm to the public is clear.  The pattern of abusive behaviour is entrenched and, in the absence of insight, likely to remain so.

You are 38 years old and have several previous convictions. You have 4 convictions for violence, including a matter on indictment in 2010 for assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement. You also have a conviction for culpable and reckless conduct with a domestic aggravation. That conviction involved one of the victims in this case.

I have considered all that has been carefully said today on your behalf by Mr Smith.  He has rightly emphasised the fact that you have not previously been sentenced to custody. He points to those parts of the reports which indicate even only a little acceptance and acknowledgement of wrongdoing, suggesting that this may hold out some hope for you to begin a longer journey towards full recognition of the harm you have caused.

Having regard to the whole circumstances of the case, only a custodial sentence is appropriate.  It is necessary to punish you and to seek to deter you and others from behaving in this way and in particular to protect the public from you.

Having reflected carefully on all of the circumstances, in particular the combination of serious charges, the established and entrenched behaviour and the insights in the criminal justice social work report, in my judgement the normal period of licence would not be enough to protect the public from serious harm from you.  Accordingly I consider that the custodial sentence in your case should be by way of an extended sentence.

The 6 charges of assault, breach of the peace and indecent assault each carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

3 of the sexual offences each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and 2 carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

On charge 21, the offence of abusive behaviour, the maximum sentence is 14 years imprisonment. 

The other 4 charges are serious but not of the same order of gravity. 

On charge 16, the offence of stalking, the maximum sentence is 5 years imprisonment. 

The 3 charges of threatening and abusive behaviour each carry a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.

Charges 15, 16 and 17 are aggravated due to involving abuse of your then partner or ex-partner.  This means that the jury were satisfied that you either intended your behaviour to cause the complainers to suffer physical or psychological harm, or were reckless as to whether it had that effect.

In the circumstances, I impose the following sentences:

I will deal with charges 6, 12 and 15, the threatening and abusive behaviour by imposing concurrent custodial sentences with the sentence on charge 16, the offence of stalking.  The sentence in each charge will be one of 3 years imprisonment. 

On the remaining charges which, taken together, represent, in effect, a single course of conduct, I sentence you to a cumulo sentence, that is a sentence which covers all of those charges which were part of a course of serious abusive and sexual conduct on your part. 

I had considered whether to impose consecutive sentences as some of your crimes involved different decisions and different behaviour but I have concluded that they were, in effect, part of the same course of abusive conduct.

I have not increased the sentences on the charges with the domestic aggravation in view of the sentence I am imposing on charge 21 in particular.

The custodial sentence will be an extended sentence of 9 years.  The length of the custodial term of that extended sentence is 7 years with a 2 year extension period for the duration of which you will be under licence on conditions fixed by the Scottish Ministers.  If during this extension period you fail to comply with the conditions of your licence it may be revoked by the Scottish Ministers and you may be returned to custody for a further period.

As all the crimes were, in effect, a single course of conduct, the sentences will all be served concurrently. 

That means, in effect, therefore an extended sentence of 9 years with a custodial term of 7 years and an extension period of 2 years.

The sentence will date from 12 February 2024.

As a consequence of this sentence for the sexual offences, you will be subject to notification requirements indefinitely.

In addition, I must consider whether to make a non‑harassment order in relation to the 6 complainers.  I will make such an order.

The conditions of that order are as follows:

That you must not approach, contact, communicate directly or indirectly with or attempt to approach, contact or communicate with them.  The order will be of indefinite duration and will commence today.”

14 June 2024