HMA v Gary Watt

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 26 February 2019, Lord Arthurson sentenced Gary Watt to eight years’ imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of two charges of rape.

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

“Gary Watt, on 23 January 2019 at Edinburgh High Court you were convicted by a jury of two charges of rape.  You raped your first victim repeatedly over a period of months when you were aged 17 and she was only aged 13. You raped your second victim, also repeatedly, over a period, as it is libelled, of over four years. In reaching verdicts on the charges against you it is plain that the jury rejected your defence of consent.

“As I indicated to you from the bench on the occasion of your conviction, these crimes represent a grave and repugnant course of sexual offending by you.

“In the course of your own evidence at the trial it is of note that you sought to portray yourself as the real victim in this case, rather than the complainers, stating at one point that ‘These two women have done this to me’, and at another point that ‘A vulnerable teenage girl took advantage of my good nature’.  

“That is, of course, not the view which the jury took of these matters, and in the light of their verdict you will appreciate that the court today requires to hold you to account for your crimes by way of the imposition of a substantial custodial sentence, no other disposal being at all appropriate in your case.

“The criminal justice social work report and risk assessment which has been prepared for this sentencing hearing records your continuing position of victim blaming in this case. The author of the report observes that in the event that you do not address your offending behaviour you will continue to pose a significant risk of future offending. The report further records that you have, in the meantime, the support of your present partner and family.

“I have this morning listened with care to what has been said on your behalf in mitigation by your counsel, and take all of these submissions into account in determining the appropriate disposal in this case. In particular, I take into account all that I have been advised about your health, your personal and family history and of course that you are a first offender. I also require significantly to have regard to your own age of 17, that is to say still a child yourself, when your offending in respect of the first complainer occurred.

“Turning to the disposal in this case, I now sentence you as follows. In respect of charges two and four on this indictment, in cumulo, I today impose a sentence of imprisonment of eight years. This sentence will be backdated to 23 January 2019, being the date of your initial remand in custody in respect of this indictment.

“Finally, as a result of this disposal, you now become subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.”