HMA v William Griffin

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 26 April 2019, Lord Arthurson sentenced William Griffin to nine years imprisonment after the offender plead guilty to raping two young girls.

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

“William Griffin, on 29 March 2019 at Glasgow High Court during the float period of a trial diet assigned in your case you tendered pleas of guilty to the following four charges: firstly, to a charge of using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour on various occasions towards your first victim, a young girl who was at the time of your conduct towards her between nine and eleven years of age; secondly, to a charge of the rape to injury by you of the same young girl on one occasion when she was ten years of age; thirdly, to a charge of using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour on various occasions towards your second victim, a young girl who was at the time of your conduct towards her eleven years of age; and, fourthly and finally, to a charge of the rape by you on various occasions of the same young girl when she was between eleven and fourteen years of age.

Your offending in respect of these two children covered a period of just over three years and was in its nature planned, controlling, manipulative and thoroughly deviant. You committed these crimes when you were yourself between seventeen and twenty years of age. You targeted and proceeded to violate your victims regularly throughout the period libelled for your own sexual gratification. Your criminal conduct on this indictment represents, in my view, the sustained and truly appalling sexual abuse of children for which the only appropriate disposal must be the imposition of a very substantial custodial sentence by the Court. Crimes such as yours leave a potentially life-long, devastating legacy of trauma for victims, and indeed their families, and in punishing you for the offending libelled on this indictment, the Court requires publicly to hold you to account for your crimes and to denounce these with severity on behalf of society.

You, of course, have a significant analogous prior conviction, which was at sheriff court indictment level in 2000, for the sexual abuse of a child under a statutory charge. Otherwise I note that your record is very limited and indeed non-analogous. You have been assessed in the background report prepared for today’s sentencing hearing as presenting only a moderate risk of further sexual offending, albeit I note that the authors of that report have confirmed that you continue to pose a risk of serious harm to female children. You are now aged sixty and have by your pleas in this case accepted full responsibility for your offending. I further note that you have expressed appropriate remorse and regret to the authors of the report.

I have listened with care to what has been said on your behalf by your counsel this morning by way of submissions in mitigation, and I propose to take into account all of the points advanced in selecting the custodial tariff in your case. In particular I note what has been said concerning your personal background and circumstances, including matters pertaining to your family and to your age and health. I also acknowledge that, although your pleas were tendered at an extremely late stage in these proceedings, these can be said to have served at least some utilitarian purpose insofar as your two victims did not in the end require to attend at court to give their evidence.

Turning now to disposal, I will sentence you on an in cumulo basis in respect of all four of the charges before the Court today, regarding as I do your conduct on this indictment as a course of crime systematically pursued by you over the said three year period libelled and encompassing all of the charges and both of your victims. You will accordingly on that basis serve a sentence of nine years imprisonment, discounted from a period of ten years due to the timing of your pleas. This sentence will be backdated to 29 March 2019, being the date of your conviction and present remand in custody in respect of this indictment.

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