Glass v HM Advocate

Criminal evidence and procedure – Hearsay evidence – Witness's signed statement – Admissibility. High Court of Justiciary: Refusing an appeal against conviction by an appellant who was found guilty of four charges of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices involving young boys, the court held that the sheriff had erred in admitting a witness's signed statement as evidence of fact as an exception to the prohibition against hearsay when the maker, although generally capable of testifying, was unable to recall either making the statement or the events narrated in it because of the effects of a head injury, but that no miscarriage of justice had occurred as any impact the statement would have had would have been minimal: however, it was not clear that the sheriff took into account the cumulative impact of an earlier sentence when selecting the custodial period of 5 years and had he done so he would have appreciated that the total of 8 years and 10 months, even for the repeated sexual abuse of young boys where the convicted person had inveigled himself into a position of trust, was excessive; furthermore the extended element of the sentence (6 years) was incompetent, having regard to the age of the offences, and required to be quashed.

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