HMA v Callum Sneddon

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 11 May 2018, Lady Scott imposed an extended sentence of 13 years on Callum Sneddon after the accused pled guilty to charges of rape and sexual assault. The custodial period will be 10 years, which will be followed by an extension period of three years on licence.

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

“Callum Sneddon, you have pled guilty to the sexual abuse of four young girls aged between about seven and 15 years old. This abuse included a rape and repeated penetrative abuse over a lengthy period. 

“Your conduct involved a gross abuse of trust. You knew one of your victims had been badly damaged from previous abuse by someone else, yet you went to abuse her. You knew one of your victims looked up to you and you must have known your conduct would be very damaging.

“You have four previous convictions for physical assaults on a child in 2014 and 2015.

“Your conduct has robbed these children of their childhood. You have left them and their families devastated and forever damaged.

“These charges represent very serious and sustained sexual abuse of young children and I require to impose a substantial period in custody.

“The criminal justice and social work (CJSW) report suggests you are a medium risk of sexual re-offending.  It is clear to me from the terms of that report you have little insight of your conduct and you appear detached from it and the consequences.

“You clearly have distorted thinking about sexual conduct generally. There is no evidence of any real remorse on you part.

“On the other hand you have pleaded guilty as libelled and saved these children from having to give evidence at a trial. This has significant utilitarian value and I take this into account and I will discount your sentence by one third to reflect this.

“I am satisfied by the nature of this abuse and the terms of the CJSW report that you present a danger of serious sexual harm to children and it is necessary for their protection to impose an extended sentence. 

“An extended sentence consists of the appropriate term of imprisonment and an extension period whereby your release on licence is extended for that period. The effect is that, if, during that period, if you breach the conditions of your licence, your licence may be revoked and you may be recalled to prison by the Scottish Ministers, with or without consultation with the Parole Board.

“Before I impose the sentence I have decided upon, I require to tell you what I would have sentenced you, on each charge, if I had been considering those charges standing alone and after deduction of the discount. This would have been as follows: on charge 1, to eight months' imprisonment; on charge 2, to 48 months’ imprisonment; on charge 3 to 48 months; imprisonment; on charge 4, to 12 months; on charge to 5, to 48 months’ imprisonment.

“Having regard to the fact these offences consist of a single course of conduct against the various children and having regard to the total effect of sentencing you on each charge separately, I have decided that it is appropriate to sentence you to a cumulo  that is  single total extended sentence.

“Accordingly, I sentence you to a total extended sentence of 13 years consisting of a cumulo period of 10 years imprisonment and three years extended period on licence. This sentence will be backdated to 20th November 2017. You will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.”