HMA v James Elder

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 11 May 2018, Lord Matthews imposed an extended sentence of 11 years on James Elder after the accused was found guilty of rape. The custodial period will be nine years, which will be followed by an extension period of two years on licence.

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

“James Elder, you were convicted of the violent rape of your 19-year-old daughter, while acting along with another male.

“Rape is a dreadful crime and for a father to act in this way towards his daughter is unthinkable. Your defence to this, namely that you and she had sexual intercourse with consent, thereby committing the crime of incest, was a desperate one which the jury saw through.

“It was clear that your daughter had a number of issues and sadly it would appear that she committed suicide. It is only natural and perfectly understandable that her mother and sister, and no doubt others, are of the view that you are responsible for that. 

“According to the criminal justice social work report, you do not share that view. Whatever be the truth of the matter, however, there was no evidence led as to the circumstances of her death which would allow me to take it into account when passing sentence.

“I do, though, take into account the circumstances of the offence, the contents of the reports, which set out your personal details, your record and what has been said on your behalf.

“I am satisfied that only a substantial custodial sentence is appropriate to reflect the abhorrent nature of this offence and the gross breach of trust which it represents.

“The effect of all this on the wider family was obvious in the evidence and the impact statement from the complainer’s sister confirms that. Rather than caring for your daughter and protecting her from harm you used and abused her for your own gratification.

“I am also satisfied that in all the circumstances the normal conditions of release would not be sufficient to protect the public from serious harm from you.

“Therefore I am imposing on you an extended sentence of eleven years’ duration.  It is in two parts. The first part is a custodial element of nine years imprisonment to run from 6 April 2018.

“Thereafter, on your release, you will be subject a licence, the conditions of which will be set by the Scottish Ministers. Breach of those conditions may see you recalled to prison to serve the full term of the sentence.

“You will be subject to the notification provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period and the clerk will advise the Scottish Ministers of your conviction in in terms of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 if that has not already been done.”