HMA v MARTIN JOHN SCOUGAL

On 28 July 2014 at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lady Wolffe sentenced Martin Scougal to six years and nine months imprisonment after he was convicted of the rape of two young girls.

“You have been found guilty by the jury of 9 charges  involving sexual misconduct towards two young girls and which include five charges of rape (one of these being at common law and four of these being statutory rape) as well as four charges  involving various other  forms of sexual abuse and assault. You have also been found guilty of threatening each of your victims. Each of these convictions relate to events when you were already on bail in respect of other charges, and are therefore aggravated by being breaches of bail. You also pled guilty, part way through the trial, to two breaches of a separate bail condition that you do not have any unsupervised contact with any person under the age of 16 years. Both complainers were, at their oldest, then  only 13 or  14 years old at the time that they suffered these attacks at your hand.

The charges of which you now stand convicted after trial  are  very serious matters indeed. In respect of your first victim, the evidence disclosed that  you behaved in a predatory and calculated manner by   befriending a girl child much younger than yourself, threatening her and her family with violence, and then pursuing a course of abuse of her  over a prolonged period of time. You subjected her to a variety of forms of sexual abuse. You took considerable steps to ensure that your conduct would not be discovered. When she became unavailable to you, you proceeded to identify and avail yourself of your second victim. The charges concerning her also included rape, albeit on one occasion only, as well as lesser sexual abuse and also a threat of violence and rape towards her.

I have had regard to a Victim impact statement prepared by your first victim. The impact on your first victim, who was herself vulnerable, has been devastating. Since the abuse she has had a history of depression, self-harming and panic attacks. She has lost the ability to form trusting relationships, and indeed there has been a breakdown of her relationship with her own family, who would otherwise be a form of support to her. She is socially isolated and insecure. As a consequence of the abuse she suffered, she has left school early, has been unable to work and has been dependent upon benefits. Some of the abuse also resulted in  physical harm to her of a most intimate kind. Your second victim was equally young and vulnerable. Thankfully, the abuse toward her was short-lived.

 You are presently serving a custodial sentence imposed by the High Court after conviction on three charges of sexual abuse (including rape) of two young children. 

Having regard to the crimes  of which you have  been convicted, and the previous convictions laid before me, a custodial sentence is inevitable.

Having regard to you relative youth, but also bearing in mind the potential risk you may pose to the public, I called for a  Criminal Justice Social Work Report and a risk assessment for the purposes of section 210A. 

 

 I have had regard to the Criminal Justice Social Work Report now available to me. I note that a risk assessment model included in the report assesses  you as presenting  a high risk.  It is clear that some form of post custodial supervision is required.

I have taken into account what has been said by your defence solicitor advocate in respect of the previous convictions overlapping with the events underlying these charges. I have also taken into account what has been said on your behalf about your acceptance that this form of behaviour must stop,  about  your participation in a programme to address your offending behaviour and of your willingness to continue to participate in further similar programmes in prison. 

The crimes of which you have been found guilty after trial are serious ones. They all involved calculated and predatory sexual abuse of two young girls for your own sexual gratification. Sexual crimes involving children are particularly odious. Such abuse is not acceptable in a modern society, and it is the responsibility of the Court to reflect that understanding. 

I am satisfied that in your case, there is no appropriate alternative disposal to one of imprisonment.

Indeed, your defence solicitor advocate invited a custodial sentence with an extended sentence as part of that disposal.

In the light of the foregoing, the sentences I impose are as follows:

In respect of charge 1, involving lewd and libidinous conduct under the Criminal Law (Consolidation)(Scotland) Act 1995, the sentence will be one of 18 months imprisonment (3 months of which is attributable to the bail aggravation);

In respect of charges 2 and 3, involving indecent assaults and rape at common law, the sentence I impose is a cumulative sentence of 4 years and six months, (six months of which is attributable to the bail aggravation);

In respect of charges 4, 5, 6 and 7, all constituting sexual assault or rape  under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, the sentence I impose is a cumulative sentence of six years (six months of which is attributable to the bail aggravations);

In respect of charge 9, the threat of violence you made toward your first victim and her family, the sentence I impose is one of 9 months (three months of which is attributable to the bail aggravations);

In respect of charges 10 and 11, which involved sexual assault and rape of your second victim arising under the 2009 Act, the sentence I impose is a cumulative sentence of one of 4 years and six months (six months of which is attributable to the bail aggravation);

In respect of charge 12, which was a threat of violence and rape against your second victim, the sentence is nine months, (three months of which is attributable to the bail aggravation);

In respect of charges 15 and 16, involving the two separate breaches of the special bail condition that you do not have unsupervised contact with persons under 16, I impose a sentence of nine months in respect of each of these.  

Furthermore, the sentences I have imposed in respect of charges 1 to 7, and 9 to 12, are to be served concurrently with one another to reflect the fact that this was a course of conduct; but the custodial parts are to run consecutively to the sentence you are already serving. For the avoidance of doubt, the effect of the sentences I have imposed on these charges is a cumulative custodial sentence of six years.

In addition, I impose an extended sentence of three years and six months in respect of these charges.

Finally, the cumulative sentences of nine months I have imposed in respect of charges 15 and 16 are to run concurrently with each other, but to run consecutively to those I have imposed in respect of the sentences I have imposed for charges 1 to 7 and 9 to 12.

You are now liable to comply with the notification requirements under Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period”.