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HMA v Michael Buchanan
At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 8 March 2017, Lord Boyd of Duncansby imposed an extended sentence of 14 years on Michael Buchanan after the accused pled guilty to charges of rape and sexual abuse of children. The custodial part will be nine years, followed by an extension period of five years on licence.
On sentencing, Lord Boyd made the following statement in court:
“Michael Buchanan, you have pleaded guilty to 16 charges involving 13 victims, 12 of them children spanning a period of 21 years. All except one are sexual offences.
The children age from between four and five years old to 14 years of age.
The most serious of these offences are charges of rape against a six-year-old child and a 13-year-old child. But they also include humiliating and degrading behaviour and sexual violence against children.
It seems from the criminal justice social work report (CJSWR) that you have begun to appreciate the impact of what you have done and the psychological and emotional harm to your victims.
These are not matters that can be washed away with an apology but the fact that you have accepted your guilt and tendered these pleas may bring them some solace.
I have listened carefully to what has said on your behalf.
I note from the CJSWR that you were subject of physical and sexual abuse as a child. I take into account the fact that the first three charges were committed when you yourself were a child.
I also take into account that your offending came to an end in 2003.
You have a minor record of previous convictions but they do not contain any analogous convictions and I shall disregard it for sentencing purposes.
The report also assesses you as a high risk of re-offending. That is tempered by the fact that these offences came to an end 14 years ago.
Were it not for that gap I might have considered whether I needed to obtain a risk assessment report given the scale and nature of the offending over a protracted period of time. However, I am satisfied that I can deal with the risk by a substantial extended period of supervision on your release.
By your plea you have saved a substantial number of witnesses having to relive painful experiences in a trial. I have been asked to consider making a discount for the plea. I will do so recognising the utilitarian value of the plea in advance of the trial.
However, I will also take into account that the plea only came at the second continued preliminary hearing and after the commission to take evidence from two complainers.
In respect of all the charges other than charges 7 and 19 I shall impose a cumulo extended sentence of 14 years, of which the custodial part shall be nine years and the five year extension shall pertain to charge 17.
Had you been convicted after trial the custodial part of the sentence would have been 11 years.
In respect of the two statutory charges that is charges 7 and 19, on charge 7 the sentence is one of four years and on charge 19 the sentence is five years imprisonment.
All the sentences are to run concurrently. The sentences shall be backdated to 19 December 2016.”