HMA v Norman Gartshore

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 22 May 2018, Lord Arthurson sentenced Norman Gartshore to six years’ imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of historical child sex offences.

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

“Norman Gartshore, on 23 April 2018 at Edinburgh High Court you were convicted by a jury of grave and highly disturbing sexual offending against two young girls. The period of your offending libelled in the charges spanned from 1976 to 1985.

“In the case of your principal victim, you engaged in a course of conduct of sexual abuse against her involving a very significant number of years of her childhood. Put shortly, you engaged in penetrative sexual activity with two children, in conduct that was as despicable as it was deviant, and the purpose of the sentence which the court will impose upon you today is to punish you for these crimes. 

“On any view your offending merits the imposition of a significant custodial sentence. But, in the sentencing exercise which the court must undertake in your case, it is important to make clear the approach which requires to be adopted to the selection of the appropriate custodial tariff.

“You are today being sentenced as an adult offender, but the court takes very much into account your relatively young age throughout the period of your offending, and indeed the constructive life that you have lived since that time as an adult, both in your family life and your employment. You are a first offender who has shown yourself to be a responsible member of society.

“You have in addition been assessed as presenting a low risk of further offending, and the court accordingly does not require to include in the sentence imposed today any element relative to the future protection of the public.

“I have listened carefully to what has been said on your behalf this morning by your counsel, and take all of that mitigation into account, in particular concerning your personal circumstances. I also note that in the course of your discussions with criminal justice social workers, you have now admitted your penetrative abuse of your principal victim over a period of many years. I note further that your remorse in respect of that admission has been characterised as genuine.

“Nevertheless, you will perhaps only now be beginning to appreciate the irreparable harm that you have inflicted on the young girls who were the subject of your abuse many years ago.

“In the case of your principal victim, as she has put matters herself in her victim impact statement: ‘I always seem to have the feeling of being used and abused, sexually”. She has also spoken of being “shunned by my own family, for speaking the truth’, a truth which you have long denied but have now at long last admitted.

“In these circumstances, I now sentence you as follows: on charges 1, 2 and 5, for the reasons I have already stated, I restrict the sentence to be imposed, on an in cumulo basis, to one of six years’ imprisonment. On charge 3, you will serve concurrently a sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment.

“The total sentence imposed is accordingly one of six years’ imprisonment, backdated to the date of your first remand in custody in respect of this indictment, namely 23 April 2018.

“Finally, as a result of this sentence, you will now be made subject to the notification requirements of Part II of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.”