HMA v Ryan Douglas

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 15 May 2015, Judge Paul Arthurson QC sentenced Ryan Douglas to six years imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to attempted rape.

On sentencing, Judge Arthurson made the following statement in court: 

“Ryan Douglas, on 24 April 2015 you pled guilty to a single charge of attempted rape in contravention of section 1 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, while on a bail order pronounced less than two months prior to that offence. Your criminal record discloses that you were also at the time of the offence on a community payback order imposed only a matter of weeks beforehand. You have been remanded in custody in respect of the charge on the indictment before this court since 11 August 2014. 

The offence to which you have pled guilty took place between 8.30 pm and 9.00 pm on 7 August 2014. You did not know your victim. She was a schoolgirl who had just recently turned 17 years of age and who was simply walking home. You subjected her to a terrifying and harrowing attack and attempted to rape her all in terms of the amended libel in the charge which you have admitted. But for the highly commendable and courageous actions of members of the public, I have no doubt that you would have continued with your attack. 

You are now aged 25 and were aged 24 when you committed this offence. You have been assessed on one risk assessment tool by the social worker charged with that task as presenting a high risk of future conviction both in terms of sexual and violent offending. I accept you have no memory of your offence due to your state of alcoholic inebriation on the date libelled. Your risk factors include the abuse of alcohol and on your own admission problems with anger. You have convictions for weapons-related offending, crimes of violence generally and most recently in 2014 for domestic violence. You have not previously received a custodial sentence. You have not previously been convicted of any sexual offence. You have not previously been convicted of any offence at indictment level. You have a supportive family. You have expressed some concern for your victim. By tendering your plea you have accepted responsibility for the offence.  

I have listened carefully to your Counsel’s comments made this morning on your behalf in mitigation. In particular I accept her contention that the offence was not pre-planned. She has properly accepted nevertheless on your behalf that a custodial sentence would be the only appropriate disposal in the light of the circumstances of the offence. I take all of her helpful submissions into account in imposing the following sentence. 

Due to the gravity of the offence to which you have pled guilty, and taking into account the whole circumstances before the court, I impose today a sentence of six years imprisonment. But for the timing of your plea, which came very late but in particular has spared your victim at least from coming to court to give her evidence, that sentence would have been a term of six years and eight months.  

The sentence which I have just described will of course be backdated to 11 August 2014. 

As a result of this sentence you now become subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.”