HMA v STUART HUGHES & WILLIAM JOHN WILLIAMSON

Today at Edinburgh High Court Lord Woolman imposed extended sentences of eight years on Stuart Hughes and William Williamson after they were found guilty of sexual assault. The sentences consist of a custodial period of six years followed by an extension period of two years.

On sentencing Lord Woolman made the following statement in court:

“You have both been convicted of two serious sexual offences. The jury, having heard all the evidence, found you unanimously guilty after trial. I propose to say only a limited amount about the offences. The charges speak for themselves.

I begin by considering the gravity of your conduct. There are several factors to take into account:

 i. You tied up the complainer on charge 1 before committing a sustained indecent assault upon her.
 ii. The assault took place in her own home in the presence of two young children, one of whom was her son. They are the complainers on charge 2.
 iii. You caused the two boys not only to observe, but to participate in certain parts of the assault.
 iv. Other adults were also present and observed her plight
 v. You caused a video to be taken of the incident on a mobile phone, although I understand that was deleted.

The complainer on charge 1 was traumatized by what happened. The humiliation visited upon her has had a major impact on her life. She has become depressed, lost confidence, left her home and taken time off work. It is hard to calculate what harm you have caused to the two boys.

I take into account the terms of the social enquiry reports and everything said in mitigation on your behalf. In particular, I note that both of you come before the court with limited records and no prior convictions for sexual offences.

You have, however, each been assessed as presenting a high risk of re-offending. In those circumstances, I shall impose an extended sentence for the protection of the public. I see no reason to differentiate between you in terms of sentence. Because they both arose out of the same incident, I shall impose one cumulo sentence to cover both crimes.

You will each go to prison for a period of 6 years, with an extension period of two years. Stuart Hughes, your sentence will be backdated to 9 February 2011. William Williamson, your sentence will be backdated to 16 February 2011.

On the last occasion I placed you on the Sex Offenders’ Register. You will be subject to the notification requirements indefinitely. I propose to refer your cases to the Scottish Ministers in terms of section 10 (4) of the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003”.