HMA v Scott Turner

At the High Court in Edinburgh today (20 December 2017) Judge Craig Scott QC sentenced Scott Turner to eight years imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of a series of sexual offences. On sentencing Judge Scott made the following statement in court:

You were convicted of a series of sexual offences. The indictment contained three charges of sodomy and one charge of attempted sodomy. These crimes took place during the 1990s.

Whilst the passage of time precludes absolute precision, on the evidence, all of your victims were no older than 12 or, perhaps, 13 years of age when you abused them. You were significantly older than them. They looked up to you given your greater maturity and experience in life.

 Three of the charges involved single occurrences. However, the evidence of the complainer in charge three was that you had sexually abused him on a number of occasions, possibly more than 10. The conduct involved in charge three was more extensive than that libelled in the other charges. Among other things, it also involved penile penetration of the victim’s mouth.

 At trial, the complainers gave their evidence in a straightforward yet compelling manner. In your own evidence, you sought to dismiss their accounts as fabrication. However, the proposition that, in adulthood, these four men whether individually or collectively had concocted a story about what happened to them was obviously rejected by the jury.

 When you were abusing them, the complainers, because of their young age, had no proper understanding as to what was being done by you. It’s fair to conclude that you wrecked what otherwise ought to have been innocent childhoods. Instead, you exploited your relationship with them and when opportunities arose you were unable to control your lust for young boys. To my mind, that sort of exploitative behaviour indicates a significant degree of culpability on your part.

 In their victim impact statements, two of the complainers speak plainly of the lasting emotional and psychological difficulties caused by what you did to them. They have been burdened with these difficulties well into their adult life.

 For your part, there appears to be an abject lack of acceptance of responsibility or of remorse. Those are factors which, quite obviously, weigh against you when it comes to consideration of an appropriate disposal.

 I have taken into account everything which has been said on your behalf along with the  contents of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report. Your very limited previous convictions in this jurisdiction are of no consequence for present purposes. I recognise that your conduct as set out in charge 4 proceeded no further than an attempt at sodomy.

I have also given due allowance for the fact that charges 1,2 and 4 embraced single incidents although, that said, it cannot, of course, be ignored that these charges concerned three separate victims. Moreover, when it came to charge 3, the evidence indicated that you were babysitting. The complainer was in your care. To that extent, you occupied a position of trust.

 Therefore, looking to the whole circumstances, the course of criminal conduct of which you were convicted undoubtedly merits a significant custodial sentence. I shall impose a cumulo sentence of eight years’ imprisonment backdated to 1 November 2017.

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