HMA v Alan Kusz

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 16 July 2019, Lord Armstrong sentenced Alan Kusz to 10 years’ imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of sexually assaulting a one-year-old girl to her severe injury and permanent impairment.

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

“Alan Kusz, you have been convicted, unanimously, of the gravest of sexual assaults, on a little girl, only 14 months old, by penetrating her vagina to her severe injury.

“The medical evidence at your trial was to the effect that the child had sustained very severe injuries at the most extreme end of the range of gravity of such injuries.

“Medical opinion at your trial was to the effect that, in her later life, the nature of the injuries you inflicted are likely to preclude natural childbirth.

“I have read and noted the terms of a victim impact statement prepared by the child’s foster carer on her behalf. It is clear from that document that your actions have had a massively negative effect on her on-going development, and that she exhibits, and is likely to continue to exhibit, the manifest consequences of her resulting physical and emotional trauma.

“I have taken account of what has been said on your behalf, and I have also had regard to the content of the psychological report produced on your behalf and the criminal justice social work report now made available to me. 

“You are 43 years of age. I have taken account of your whole personal circumstances and family background.

“You have been assessed, using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, as being within the borderline range of intellectual functioning, but not to the extent that you fall within the definition of ‘significant impairment of social functioning’ or of ‘learning disability’.

“I accept that the effect of your level of intellectual functioning may have impacted on the nature of your relationships both with adults and children.

“You continue to deny any responsibility for the crime of which you have been convicted.

“The criminal justice social work report indicates that you display limited empathy towards the victim of your crime, and that you have limited awareness of the harm that you have caused. The author of the report suggests that you lack insight into your offending and that you present a significant risk of re-offending of a similar serious nature.

“In relation to these aspects of the content of the criminal justice social work report, I note what has been said on your behalf this morning. I note and accept that when the victim impact statement, lodged in court, was read to you, you were shocked by its content.

“I acknowledge that your criminal record is a limited one. However, this crime of which you have been convicted is disturbing and grave. 

“It is difficult to imagine a more vulnerable victim.

“Society has an abhorrence of such conduct and it is the responsibility of the court to reflect that. Young and vulnerable children are all entitled to care and protection.

“It is important that those who might be disposed to commit crimes of sexual abuse against children, in the way that you did, understand that they are likely to receive significant custodial penalties once brought to justice.

“I am satisfied that, in your case, there is no appropriate alternative disposal to one of imprisonment.

“I have already made an order that you be subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. In light of the sentence I am about to impose, that requirement will be continued for an indefinite period of time. The clerk of court will provide you with a notice of the requirements with which you must comply.

“In considering the appropriate level of sentence in your case, I attach particular weight to the nature and extent of the injuries which you inflicted on this young child. I find it difficult to imagine how any injuries more serious and devastatingly grave, than the ones which she sustained, could be caused by a sexual assault of this nature.

“Having regard to all of the circumstances of your case, including your personal background, and your relatively limited criminal history, but also the nature of the injuries you inflicted, the degree of force which would have necessary to cause them, the significant position of trust which you breached, and the most vulnerable state of your victim, the sentence which I now impose on you, commensurate with my public duty, is one of a period of imprisonment of 10 years.

“That sentence will be backdated to 14 September 2018 when you were first detained in custody in relation to these matters.”