HMA v Michael Stuart

At the High Court in Edinburgh today (12 December 2017) Lady Scott sentenced Michael Stuart to a total of eight years imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of rape and assault offences. On sentencing Lady Scott made the following statement in court:

You have been convicted of four charges consisting of a course of assault and violence to two victims. On various occasions over about two years you assaulted your first victim by pushing her, punching and kicking her, seizing her throat and on one occasion holding her against a wall and cutting her clothing. On various occasions you assaulted your second victim by pushing her onto a bed, seizing her by the throat, pushing her against a wall and throwing an ashtray at her.

Your violence terrified your victims. Both fled to refuges. Your first victim now has post-traumatic stress disorder and your second victim continues to have nightmares and flash backs. Both require treatment for anxiety and depression.

Not only did you belittle, humiliate and assault your victims, you also raped them.

You have also been convicted on two charges of rape. In respect of your first victim it was her evidence you raped her on four occasions, including when she was pregnant. When she told you she didn’t want intercourse or when she said no, you forcibly raped her. On one occasion you covered her mouth, on another placed a pillow over her face and on another occasion punched her in the stomach. In respect of your second victim, when she was asleep you climbed on top of her and raped her.

Your position is made more serious by your record of convictions for physical violence and culpable and reckless conduct towards women. You have been diagnosed as having traits of a personality disorder.

On the other hand, I take into account that you have had a difficult start in life and significantly, you have recently admitted you have a serious problem with violence and alcohol and you have taken steps to address this – by undergoing a domestic abuse programme, abstinence from alcohol; and you have support.  Nonetheless you are assessed as presenting a high risk of re-offending. You deny the sexual offences.

I take into account in the sentences I impose the short period spent on remand.

Balancing all of these factors I sentence you as follows:

On the charges of physical violence, charges 1, 4 and 7, I sentence you to a cumulo sentence of 4 years imprisonment.

On the charge of rape in charge 3, I sentence you to 5 years imprisonment.

On the charge of rape in charge 5, I sentence you 3 years imprisonment.

The sentences in charges 1, 4 and 7 are to run concurrently with each other and with the sentence on the other charges. The sentences in charges 3 and 5 are to run consecutively.

This makes a total sentence of imprisonment of 8 years, backdated to 14 November 2017.