HMA v James Adam

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 23 April 2019, Lord Pentland imposed a sentence of eight years on James Adam, after the accused was convicted of a series of sexual offences committed against three young girls during a period of around 25 years.

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

“James Adam, the jury convicted you of a series of sexual offences committed against three young girls during a period of around 25 years beginning in the mid-1970s. In the case of two of your victims the abuse occurred frequently. In the case of the third girl the abuse took place on a single occasion.

It was clear from the evidence at your trial that, at least in the case of the two main victims, you engaged in manipulative grooming behaviour calculated to enable you to take advantage of them for the purposes of your own sexual gratification. The abuse took a number of forms. It extended to one instance of rape, to numerous episodes of other types of sexual penetration and to various forms of indecent and depraved conduct.  

It is clear from the information supplied by your victims to the court that they have each suffered substantial trauma and harm due to your abuse of them. 

You are nearly 81 years of age. You must have thought that you had succeeded in escaping justice for what you did, but due to the courage of your victims in giving evidence you will now face the consequences of your sustained criminality. It is to be hoped that this will allow your victims to move forward in their lives and to develop some sense of closure.

Regrettably, you have evinced no remorse or empathy for your victims and appear to have no insight into the harm your abuse has caused.

I have taken account of all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation. I note that you have no relevant previous convictions.

Society has an abhorrence of the sexual abuse of children and it is part of the Court’s responsibility to reflect that in sentencing sexual offenders. You must be punished for the harm you have caused. It must also be made plain to anyone who might be tempted to prey on vulnerable children that they can expect to receive substantial custodial sentences when convicted, whatever their age.

Having regard to the gravity of your crimes, to your age and to all other relevant considerations, I impose a cumulo sentence of eight years imprisonment.

You will remain subject to the notification requirements applicable to sexual offenders for the remainder of your life.

Your name will be added to the lists of persons deemed unsuitable to work with children and other vulnerable groups.

Your sentence will be backdated to 28 March 2019."