Parliament Hall

Judiciary of Scotland

Welcome to the website of the judiciary in Scotland.  You will find lots of information about judges, the work they do in each of the different courts and some helpful advice if you are attending court or simply want to come in and see what happens.  

You can also find up-to-date information on the latest sentencing statements which will allow you to read what a judge has said in court on passing sentence.  We also publish summaries of opinions, fatal accident inquiry determinations and other major court decisions in Scotland.


At the High Court in Glasgow Lord Stewart sentenced George Lafferty to 4 years and 6 months imprisonment for sexual assault and rape in Paisley in November 2011.

On sentencing Lord Stewart made the following statement in court:

“George Lafferty you have been found guilty by the jury of sexual assault and rape all while the complainer was asleep and incapable of consenting contrary to the Sexual Offences Scotland Act 2009 section 1. This happened in the back bedroom of your parents’ home while the complainer and her partner were asleep together in a double bed. The jury heard that the complainer had taken some alcohol and a sleeping pill. She was wearing her pyjamas and a pair of pants. You must have removed or pulled aside her clothing. But she did not wake up. Neither did her partner. He had apparently consumed a large amount of alcohol. Your victim would have been none the wiser if you had not texted her a few days later to tell her what you had done and to say sorry. Corroboration was provided by the finding of DNA from your semen on the complainer’s pants.

I have taken account of the well considered plea in mitigation presented on your behalf by Ms Arroll. I have had regard to the terms of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report, to the terms of the Pathways Project Report and to all other relevant circumstances made known to me.

You are now aged 46. For practical purposes you are a first offender. You have never previously been in prison. The crime would not have come to light if you had not admitted it. The risk assessment is equivocal but certainly does not rate you as a high risk and may rate you as being at a low risk of reoffending which seems to me to be likely. Alcohol played a part on the account you have given to the reporter. Clearly it is a serious matter to take advantage of a woman in a position of vulnerability as you did. Exercising such leniency as I can I shall sentence you to four years and six months imprisonment backdated to 28 March 2013 when you were remanded following the verdict. Since 28 March you have been subject to the provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The Clerk of Court will shortly provide you with a further certificate in terms of that Act.”

Sentenced passed 25 April13