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Excessive Sentence Reduced on Appeal

HMA v Cameron Jackson 2018

Mr Cameron, a man who was jailed for two years after pleading guilty at the First Diet to sexually assaulting a friend while she was asleep, has had his sentence reduced by six months. This follows a successful High Court appeal.

The High Court ruled that the sentence with a starting point of 30 months, discounted for his early plea, selected by the original Sheriff was “excessive”. Mr Cameron was sentenced in March 2018 after pleading guilty to section 2 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009. The appeal was based on the fact that the Sheriff had erred by imposing a custodial sentence and in any event this custodial sentence was excessive. Solicitor advocate, Ms Ann Ogg, argued that the offences were “out of character” and in fact before this the appellant and the complainer were good friends.

The High Court ruled that the offence represented a “gross breach of trust” and this was accepted by the appellant. However, the appellant had always expressed remorse it was argued. The Criminal Justice Social Work Report posed the appellant in a positive light and his former employer has left his job open for him it was argued.

Lord Menzies stated in delivering the Appeal court’s opinion: “We have considered all of the mitiagory features relied on by Ms Ogg but we remain of the view that this was a gross breach of trust by the appellant and despite his position of remorse and apology and his apparent empathy with the victim, it cannot be categorised as an error on the part of the sheriff that only a custodial sentence was appropriate.”.. “However, we are persuaded that the starting point of 30 months selected by the sheriff having regard to all of the factors to which we have referred was excessive” As a result the sentence was quashed and a sentence of 18 months imposed, discounted from 24 months.

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