HMA v HECTOR MACLENNAN

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Woolman imposed an order for lifelong restriction on Hector Maclennan after he was found guilty of rape and sexual assault. The punishment part of the sentence was fixed at 5 years.

On sentencing Lord Woolman made the following statement in court:

"Before I pass sentence, I wish to say a few words about one of the witnesses at the trial, Mrs Catherine Lackie. At about 8.15am on 12 August 2009, she was driving to work. Seeing a young woman in distress on the other side of the road, Mrs Lackie stopped, turned her car round, and picked up the young woman. That woman was one of the complainers in this case. She had her 14 week old baby with her. She was trying to escape from you, Hector Maclennan.
 
Mrs Lackie took mother and daughter to an address on the Black Isle. That address was in the opposite direction from her work. She then drove back to her own home, retrieved some baby clothes, went to a local shop, purchased some baby items and took them to the young woman. Mrs Lackie deserves very high praise for her commendable conduct. She was truly a Good Samaritan.

I now turn to the sentence. The jury, having heard all the evidence, were satisfied that you (Hector Maclennan) carried out a catalogue of rapes and serious assaults against three females between 2000 and 2009. They also convicted you of two charges relating to having indecent images of children on your computer.

The Risk Assessment report in this case makes disturbing reading. Dr Baird explains in detail your background history and the factors that have caused you to offend. He concludes that you present a grave risk to the safety of any woman with whom you form a relationship. It is his view that the risk cannot be managed in the community.

On the basis of the report, I am satisfied that the risk criteria are met. Because you present a high risk to the safety of the public at large, it is appropriate to make an order for lifelong restriction. The order I impose applies to charges 2, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12 & 16 (in other words, the seven non-statutory offences). It means that you will only be released from prison if the Parole Board deem that it is safe to do so. Even then, you will be subject to strict conditions and will be liable to be recalled to prison if you break those conditions or offend again.

The law requires me to set a minimum term of imprisonment, known as the ‘punishment part’ of the sentence. It is the period which you must serve before the Parole Board can consider your case. In fixing the ‘punishment part’, I consider first what would have been an appropriate determinate sentence, but ignoring any element attributable to the protection of the public.

Had I been doing so, and having regard to the very serious nature of your crimes, I would have passed a sentence of 15 years in prison, of which 5 years would have been in respect of public protection. In terms of the legislation I shall then deduct one half from the resultant period of 10 years to reflect when you may have been released, if the sentence had been determinate.

I shall therefore fix the punishment part at 5 years. Let me emphasise again that does not mean that you will be released after 5 years. It is the minimum period that you must serve before you can be considered for parole. There is a possibility that you may never be released back into the community.

You have been convicted of two offences relating to indecent images. There were thirty two photographs in total found on your laptop computer. The classification of the images was agreed in the Joint Minute in accordance with the COPINE scale. A number were at level 4 of that scale. In fact the analysis should have been made in accordance with the Definitive Guideline (HMA v Graham 27 May 2010, paragraph 29).

I have viewed a sample of the images in this case. All of the images showed girls aged between 8 and 14 years. I take into account (a) the period of time specified in the libel; (b) that the images were held for personal use, rather than for distribution; (c) that there was a relatively small quantity; and (d) that they were still, rather than moving images.

I shall impose a cumulo sentence on charges 17 and 18 of 6 months imprisonment. It will run concurrently with the life long restriction order. The sentences will be backdated to 4th September 2009.

I remind you about two matters which I mentioned at the close of the trial. First you are subject to the notification provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period. Secondly, I propose to refer your case to the Scottish Ministers in terms of section 10 (4) of the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003".