Monday, March 19th, 2018

Appeal against Sentence by VE against Her Majesty's Advocate [2018] HCJAC 12

The appellant, a 14-year-old boy, was convicted after trial of two sexual offences – statutory rape and sexual assault - for which he was sentenced to 6 years and 1 year respectively. The sentences were to run concurrently.

Claire Mitchell of Compass Chambers represented the appellant in his appeal against sentence and was successful in having the 6-year sentence reduced to one of 3 years and 9 months.

The Appeal Court considered it was not fair to categorise the appellant’s offending as displaying any real level of planning or gaining the trust of the complainers – a factor upon which the trial judge had placed significant weight.

Alongside that, the Appeal Court  found the trial judge had erred in not having adequate regard to the approach to be taken when sentencing a child, which was previously addressed by the Appeal Court in Adam McCormick v HM Advocate, namely that: in selecting the sentence for a child, the court must have regard to the best interests of that child as a primary consideration; the desirability of facilitating the child’s rehabilitation and reintegration into society; and that youth makes a child less blameworthy than an adult.

For those reasons the sentence was reduced.

To read the Opinion of the Court, please click here.

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