In this case, RM was convicted of rape against three of his ex-partners. At the sentencing diet, the trial judge imposed three orders of one year, two years and five years in relation to each separate offences. There was evidence to support the fact that the offences involved violence/threats that escalated in severity over time.
The charges occurred over a wide time frame, namely over the course of 9 years. The trial judge therefore felt that a cumulative sentence was not appropriate. The sentencing judge reasoned that when considering the charges and previous conviction of domestic violence, he felt the initial sentence of 11 years would be too severe.
It was the case of the Lord Advocate on appeal that the trial judge had erred in his direction. It was submitted that the trial sheriff refused to consider the seriousness in totality and as such reached a final sentence that was too lenient. In addition it was argue that the new Sentencing Young Persons guidelines were incorrectly applied give the age of the appellant – he was nearly 30 at the time of sentencing.
Lady Dorrian, in delivering the appeal decision stated that the court are entitled to impose a more severe sentence if it ‘is necessary for the protection of the public, or because the offence is a very serious one and a more severe sentence is required in order to provide guidance to sentences generally.’
It was deemed that it was necessary to extend the sentence in this case due to the gravity of the offences. This decision was reached considering ‘the gravity of the offences, the harm caused, the culpability of the respondent and the risk he posed.’ The appeal judge was not satisfied that his age at the time of the offences should be considered as a mitigating factor.
As a result, the original sentence was overturned and a 10-year custodial period with an extension period of 3 years was delivered. Non- Harassment orders were also granted.