HMA v KEVIN ALEX MATHERS

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Pentland imposed an order for lifelong restriction on Kevin Mathers after he pled guilty to attempted rape in Edinburgh on 30 June 2010.

On sentencing Lord Pentland made the following statement in court:

“You have pled guilty to a despicable sexual attack on a young woman, a complete stranger to you, whom you encountered as she was walking her dog in a public place. The agreed account of this attack put before the court shows that, for your victim, this was a terrifying and degrading ordeal. It was violent, sustained and depraved. The gravity of the crime is further aggravated by the fact that at the time you were drunk and had taken drugs. The immediate and lasting consequences for your victim, which may properly be described as devastating, are clearly brought out in the victim impact information.

Despite your young age, you already have a significant criminal record, which, I note, includes convictions (albeit at summary level) for assault to severe injury and assault. From the other information made available to me, it is clear that you are a person of an aggressive and violent disposition with very limited powers of self-control or respect for authority.

I have had the advantage of considering a detailed Risk Assessment Report and of hearing evidence from its author about it. I am completely persuaded that the conclusions reached in that report are robust and I reject all the objections to them. Those challenges were, in the final analysis, somewhat theoretical and technical in nature and they did not, in my opinion, undermine the views of the risk assessor to any material extent.  The assessor concluded, rightly in my opinion, that you present a high level of risk to the safety of the public at large. I note, in particular, that the assessor considered there to be a strong likelihood of your committing further violent offences if you are at liberty.

On the basis of all the comprehensive information now before me, I am in no doubt that you are a highly dangerous man. The Court’s main responsibility, in these circumstances, must be to take whatever steps are available under the law to ensure public safety.

In the whole circumstances, I am entirely satisfied that I must impose a life sentence on you. This takes the form of a lifelong restriction order. This means that you will not be released from prison into the community unless and until the Parole Board can be satisfied (if it ever can be) that public safety will not be endangered by such a course being taken. And even then you will be subject to strict conditions and liable to be recalled to prison if you break them or offend again. For the rest of your life, you will be subject to continuing risk management and close supervision.

The law requires me to set a minimum term of imprisonment (referred to as the punishment part of your sentence). This is merely the minimum period which you must serve in prison before the Parole Board can, in the future, even consider your case. I wish to stress that this is no more than a minimum period and it should not be thought by you or anyone that it in any sense reflects my view of when you should be released; in the circumstances of the present case it most certainly does not do so. Under the law passed by Parliament, whether and when you may be released (after the expiry of the minimum period) is a matter, as I have said, for the Parole Board. Speaking for myself and having regard to the detailed information before me, I consider that, in view of the high level of risk you present to the public, you are very likely to remain in prison for many years.


The Appeal Court has recently clarified the approach which a judge must take in setting the punishment part of this type of life sentence and it is, of course, my duty to follow that approach. I must start by considering what would have been an appropriate determinate sentence for your offence, ignoring the period of confinement necessary for the protection of the public. I must also allow such discount as is appropriate to reflect the stage in the proceedings at which you indicated your intention to plead guilty and the circumstances in which that indication was given. Finally, I require to make a further reduction to take account of the early release rules.

In the circumstances of the present case, had I been imposing a determinate sentence after trial it would have been an extended sentence, in respect of which the custodial term would have been 9 years (6 months of which would have been attributable to the breach of bail), and the extension part 4 years. To reflect your plea of guilty, tendered at a continued Preliminary Hearing, I would have discounted the custodial part to 7 years. The public protection element would have been met by the lengthy extension period imposed for that specific purpose. 


I then have to take account of the early release rules. This means that the period of 7 years falls to be reduced by 50 per cent to 3 years and 6 months.
I reiterate that the punishment part must be understood as a bare minimum, which I am obliged by statute to calculate, using the process I have just explained.
Your life sentence will be backdated to 5 July 2010 when you first appeared in court in connection with the present offence.

In addition, you will continue to be a registered sex offender for life”.

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