HMA v PAUL ANTHONY O’NEILL

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Uist sentenced Paul Anthony O’Neill to 7 years 4 months imprisonment after he pled guilty to the sexual abuse of a child in the period between December 2011 and September 2012.

5 July 2013

On sentencing Lord Uist made the following statement in court:

“You pleaded guilty to an appalling course of sexually abusive conduct towards a girl aged 10 or 11 during the relevant period between December 2011 and September 2012. You set about grooming her and then proceeded to engage in disgusting sexual acts towards her and to induce her to engage in deviant sexual activities, some of which you photographed or filmed. These activities undoubtedly debauched and corrupted her and her life in all its aspects has been shattered as a result. The long-term effects upon her are incalculable at this stage but likely to be serious. You obviously had no regard at the time to the potential effect upon her of your course of conduct. The social worker who composed a report on you for this court has informed me that when interviewed you demonstrated minimisation, justification and victim-blaming and that you justified your behaviour by viewing her as initiating and encouraging your interest. Those who abuse children in this manner must expect to receive severe punishment when brought to justice.

You are now 48 years old. Your only previous convictions consist of road traffic offences, which I ignore for present purposes. Had you had convictions for violent or sexual offences the sentences which I am about to impose would have been much longer. On each charge I shall indicate first the discounted sentence which I am imposing and then the sentence which I would have imposed had you been convicted by a jury after trial.

I deal first with charge 1, which I regard as separate and distinct from the other charges. The sentence which I impose on that charge is 8 months imprisonment discounted from 12 months imprisonment, to run from 10 June 2013.

On charge 2 the sentence which I impose is 6 years 8 months imprisonment discounted from 10 years imprisonment, to be consecutive to the sentence on charge 1.

On charge 3 the sentence which I impose is 4 years imprisonment discounted from 6 years imprisonment, to run concurrently with the sentence on charge 2.

On charge 4 the sentence which I impose is 2 years 8 months imprisonment discounted from 4 years imprisonment, to run concurrently with the sentence on charge 2.

The total custodial sentence therefore amounts to 7 years 4 months imprisonment from 10 June 2013.”

As a result of the sentences which I have imposed you now become subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period."