HMA v Alexander Mitchell

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 10 February 2017, Lord Boyd of Duncansby sentenced Alexander Mitchell to an extended sentence of eight years' imprisonment after accused was convicted of rape. The custodial part will be six years, followed by an extension period of two years on licence.

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

“Alexander Mitchell, on 15 June 2014, when you were 20 years old, you asked a 12-year-old girl to climb in through your bedroom window at your grandmother’s house. Once in your bedroom you took advantage of her and raped her.

You were on bail at the time. You were awaiting sentence for having sexual intercourse with two 13-year-old girls, contrary to section 28 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009. It seems you have an obvious interest in underage girls.

I have listened carefully to all that has been said on your behalf. I accept that this is classified as rape because of the age of the victim.

But Parliament has made it rape in order to protect children and as a 20-year-old at the time you should have known that.

You have written me a letter in which you express your remorse and regret at what happened. You explain that substance misuse played a part in clouding your judgement.

You said that you were young at the time and you say that you intend to complete every offending behaviour programme to ensure that you never commit another offence.

I am prepared to accept your expressions of remorse. The social work report however suggests to me that you have a limited insight into the offence.

I accept that your replies to interview were not coached but having read the report from the Joint Sex Offender Project I am like the author unsure of the genuineness of your intentions. I note that you refused to meet the author when offered a second interview.

Moreover your record discloses a conviction for breach of a community payback order.

More significantly on two occasions you have been convicted of breaches of the notification requirements under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

On one of these occasions it was serious enough for you to receive a custodial sentence. You are also assessed as a high risk of re-offending.

These factors suggest that it is difficult for the court to place trust in what you say about your intentions.

Given the risk that I believe that you pose to young girls I am not satisfied that the period on licence which would ordinarily apply would be sufficient to protect the public from serious harm.

Accordingly I intend to pass an extended sentence which will provide for a longer period of supervision on licence.

I intend to impose an extended sentence of eight years, of which six will be the custodial part and two shall be extended.

Had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a custodial sentence of nine years' imprisonment of which six months would have been attributable to the bail aggravation.

The sentence shall be backdated to 16 September 2016.”