HMA v Alistair Findlay

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 18 June 2019, Lord Matthews imposed an Order for Lifelong Restriction on Alistair Findlay, with a punishment part of four-and-a-half years, after the accused was found guilty of historical child sex offences.

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

“Alistair Findlay, you were convicted by a jury of seven offences involving the sexual abuse, to varying degrees, of children in respect of whom you were in a position of trust. These offences were committed between 1976 and 1986, when you were between 16 and 27 years of age.

“The offences were only prosecuted when the victims came forward years later, but in the meantime you continued to commit sexual offences, as your record demonstrates eloquently.

“I have listened carefully to everything your counsel has said. I am grateful to him for having provided a written outline of his submissions which has been very helpful, as indeed was his conduct of the trial. He could not have said or done any more.

“I have also considered your comments on the report by the risk assessor Professor Cooke. He assesses that the risk your being at liberty poses to the public at large is a high one and in the circumstances, despite your comments, I am satisfied that that is an assessment which is fully merited.

“That is not an end of the matter however. I have to be satisfied, before I can impose an Order for Lifelong Restriction, that the statutory test is met.

“I have considered everything your counsel has had to say about that, but I am satisfied that your offending, when taken along with the other offences of which you have been convicted, comprises a clear pattern of behaviour that shows that if at liberty it is likely that you will seriously endanger the public at large, albeit that you will not have the same employment opportunities as before.

“While the instant offences are historical, you have a very recent record including convictions in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016, albeit you were the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

“While I make such an order, I also have to fix a period which must pass before you can apply for release. Whether or not you are released then, and on what conditions, will be for others to determine.

“In deciding upon the sentence I have had regard not only to all the circumstances but also to the victim statements which I have read.

“Had I been imposing a determinate sentence it would have been a cumulative one of 10 years’ imprisonment.

“In fixing the minimum term, I will strip out from that a period of one year for public protection, as I am bound to do, and I will halve the remainder, again as required, to produce a figure of four years and six months.

“The sentence will run from 20 July 2017. You will be subject to the notification provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite term and I have already asked the clerk to notify the Scottish Ministers of your convictions in terms of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007.”