HMA v Craig Higgins

At the High Court in Glasgow today (15 January 2020) Lady Rae imposed an extended sentence of 12 years with a custodial part of 9 years on Craig Higgins after he was found guilty of rape.

On sentencing, Lady Rae made the following statement in court:

“You were convicted by the jury of two serious sexual offences. You raped two women who were at the time of the acts in a vulnerable state.  The first victim was asleep in her own bedroom when you entered, uninvited, and took advantage of her.  The second victim, who appeared to know you only by reputation, was very intoxicated when you are seen to lead her from a taxi in the direction of secluded church grounds where you raped her and only stopped after two young men came to her assistance having heard her distressed shouts.  This incident took place in the middle of the night.

In your evidence you displayed an arrogance which was concerning.  You attempted to blacken the character of the second victim, accusing her of performing sexual acts during a taxi journey, none of which was supported in the evidence.  You accused both women of lying however the only one telling lies during that trial was you. 

You continue to maintain your innocence which of course is your entitlement.  According to the social worker who prepared the background report you display no remorse or victim empathy.  You continue to demean your victims although you have expressed, albeit belatedly, that your behaviour towards women in the past has been derogatory and unacceptable. 

It must have been obvious to you and anyone who heard the victims give evidence that they have suffered trauma as a result of your actions.  They are clearly still affected by what you did.

I shall take account of your personal circumstances.  You have been in regular employment and you are a married man with a young family.   That may be but you clearly had no regard whatsoever for your family responsibilities on 9 July 2018 the date of the last charge.  It is said you were under the influence of alcohol when these crimes were committed.  That is no excuse whatsoever nor is it mitigatory of these serious crimes.

What I cannot ignore, Mr Higgins, is the risk you obviously present to women with whom you come into contact, particularly when you are intoxicated.  You told the jury that you regularly boasted of your sexual exploits.  The evidence disclosed that shortly after one of your sexual encounters with another woman you saw fit to telephone friends to boast in crude terms, about what you had just done. 

The risk assessment in the criminal justice social work report suggests that you score as a high risk of sexual re-conviction.  That is an assessment with which I agree accordingly I have decided to impose, for the protection of the public, an extended sentence.

I shall backdate the sentence to 18 December 2019 when you were first remanded in custody.

I shall impose an extended sentence of 12 years with the custodial part being 9 years and an extension period of 3 years post release supervision.”