HMA v James Donaldson

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 6 June 2019, Lord Uist sentenced James Donaldson to nine years’ imprisonment after the accused was convicted of rape, sexual assault and common law assault, as well as charges of stalking and threatening and abusive behaviour.

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

“James Donaldson, you require to be sentenced today for a total of 14 charges. You pleaded guilty to six charges at a preliminary hearing and again at the trial and were convicted by the jury of eight charges.

“The charges consist of seven charges of threatening or abusive behaviour, one charge of stalking, two charges of common law assault, two charges of sexual assault with penetration and two charges of rape.

“You are one of a number of men to have been convicted recently in the High Court of serious offences involving the maltreatment, both physical and sexual, of their former partners.

“Your conduct towards these women was abhorrent. This court has to make clear that violence of this sort against women is wholly intolerable and that those convicted of it face severe sentences.

“You are now 36 years old. You have a criminal record dating from 1999 which includes nine offences of assault, two of which were to injury and one of which was to severe injury.

“You were sentenced to prison terms of four months and six months respectively in 2007. I note the gap in your offending between 2007 and June 2016, when you were convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour and subsequently admonished.

“Taking into account the circumstances of these offences and your criminal record the sentences which I impose are as follows.

“First, I deal with the charges under the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, for which the maximum sentence is five years imprisonment. On charges 1, 5, 9, 11, 14 and 16, to which you pleaded guilty, I impose concurrent sentences of nine months’ imprisonment, discounted from 12 months for your guilty pleas.

“On charges 4 and 22, of which you were convicted by the jury, I impose concurrent sentences of 12 months’ imprisonment. The sentences on all eight of these charges will be concurrent.

“Secondly, I deal with the common law assaults, charges 1 and 21, the sexual assaults with penetration, charges 7 and 23, and the rapes, charges 8 and 20. All of these offences carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

“On all of these charges, taken together, the sentence which I impose is eight years’ imprisonment, to be consecutive to the concurrent sentences imposed on the other charges. Your total sentence is therefore nine years’ imprisonment.

“As a result of that sentence you now become subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.”