HMA v RYAN SKELDING

On 8 July 2014 at the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Matthews imposed on Ryan Skelding a probation order of three years after he pled guilty to two charges of lewd and libidinous practices towards a boy.

On sentencing, Lord Matthews made the following statement in court: 

“Ryan Skelding, you pleaded guilty at an early stage to two episodes of lewd and libidinous practices towards an 11-year-old boy, the young brother of a girl you were then seeing. Your victim, who was a vulnerable child, has undoubtedly been affected greatly by what you did, although it is fair to say, as has been pointed out, that it is impossible to distinguish the effects of your conduct from those caused by pre-existing conditions from which he suffered.

Had you been an adult when these offences were committed an immediate custodial sentence would have been imposed. 

However, they were committed over four years ago when you were a child yourself and a child with significant problems. In all the circumstances brought out in the reports which I have read and in what was said on your behalf, including the fact that you have been out of trouble since these offences, which were themselves your first, I have decided that an immediate custodial sentence is not the only option open to me. I may impose one at a later stage but that depends on you. 

I am going, if you indicate your consent, to impose on you a probation order of three years duration. During that time you will require to behave yourself, to keep in touch with your supervising officer and let him or her know of any change of address, any change in your employment situation and generally any change in your circumstances which might affect your ability to comply with the order. You will require to undergo such counselling related to sexual offending as your supervising officer instructs and in addition you will have to undertake unpaid work for a period of 160 hours, being 2/3 of the maximum allowed at the material time, to take account of the timing of your plea. Indeed that plea is another factor I have taken into account in deciding against an immediate custodial sentence. 

If circumstances change while the order is in force either you or your supervising officer may apply to the court for it to be varied. 

I should say also, and note this well, that if you breach the order in any way or commit another offence while it is in force you are liable to be brought back before me and all sentencing options, including custody, will be open to me. 

Lastly I have already certified that you will be subject to the notification provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and I can now tell you that that will be for a period co-extensive with the probation order, namely three years. 

I shall make an order in the terms I have indicated.”