HMA v John Gallagher

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 15 June 2016, Lady Wolffe sentenced John Gallagher to six years imprisonment after the accused was convicted of sexual assault.

On sentencing, Lady Wolffe made the following statement in court: 

“John Gallagher, after trial, you were found guilty of sexual assault, contrary to section 2 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.   

This involved a series of assaultative and penetrative acts against the complainer. At the time of each of these assaults the complainer was asleep and was not capable of consenting. 

You have one minor previous conviction from a Scottish court dating from 10 years ago. I pay no regard to this matter by reason of its age and character. 

I have considered the criminal justice social work report. You are assessed as posing a moderate risk of sexual re-offending. 

It is of concern to note that you continue to deny the behaviour of which you have been convicted. It follows, that you express no remorse. 

 I have also had regard to a victim impact statement. Your victim remains deeply traumatised by your assault on him in his own home, and when he would expect to feel safe. He suffers PTSD as a consequence of your attack and he remains off work. The events of that night have had a devastating effect on him, and have placed strains on his marriage. 

I have also had regard to all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation. This was limited. I was urged to disregard your previous conviction and not to impose an extended sentence. It was accepted that a custodial sentence is inevitable. 

The crime of which you now stand convicted is odious. It involved a sexual assault in the most intimate way, by a variety of means over several hours in the course of an evening, and at a time when the complainer was in no state to consent or to resist. 

The sentence I pass must reflect society’s abhorrence of this kind of predatory, degrading and repeated sexual assault. I am of the view that there is no alternative to a custodial sentence. 

The sentence I impose is one of six years. This will be backdated to the date when your custody in respect of this matter commenced, being 26 April 2016.”