HMA v VE 2018

VE, a 14-year-old boy, who raped and sexual assaulted two younger girls has had his sentence of six years reduced on appeal. Judges ruled that this term was “excessive” and instead imposed a sentence of three years and nine months after ruling that the trial judge did not weigh up the age of the offender.

The boy raped two young girls aged just 5 and 6 and a lot of focus was placed on the planning element of the offence by the judge in sentencing. However, Ms Mitchell submitted on behalf of the defender that there was little element of planning as the offenders victims often just come to his house. She also submitted that “the need for punishment and retribution was less in the case of a child offender than the need for rehabilitation” on behalf of her client.

Lord Menzies stated in the opinion of the court: “We consider that there is force in each of these submissions. With regard to the first we do not consider that it is fair to categorise the appellant’s offending as displaying any real level of planning or gaining the trust of the complainers.

They were friends of his sister and came round to his house to play. This was not engineered by the appellant..” He continued to state that that the trial judge did not give enough consideration to these aspects and therefore had erred.