Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Rapist 'demands release' to judge, gets life term in reply

A convicted sex attacker, who consistently sacked his legal teams in what appeared to be an attempt to escape sentencing, was given a life sentence after telling the judge, Lord Kinclaven, he had a right to be released because it had taken too long to sentence him.

It had taken too long to sentence John Munro, because he kept sacking his legal teams …. (MacAskill will have to do something about that for a soundbyte ! – Ed)

The Scotsman reports :

Rapist given life term after telling judge he had right to be released

Published Date: 01 April 2009
Law Correspondent

A DANGEROUS sex attacker demanded to be freed yesterday because it had taken too long to sentence him, but a judge imposed a life prison term.

John Munro, 35, has a history of sacking legal teams and he tried again to buy more time by asking Lord Kinclaven for the chance to recruit new lawyers.

The judge refused, and Munro then argued he was entitled to be released immediately because his case had become time-barred.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Munro, who almost killed a policeman's daughter in a rape two years ago today, had been assessed as posing a high risk of further offending.

"It was a terrifying ordeal for her… there is no question of your being released immediately," said Lord Kinclaven.

He imposed an order for lifelong restriction on Munro, explaining it was a sentence of imprisonment for an indefinite period, and that a minimum of eight years would have to be served before he could be considered for release.

Munro, of Glenburn, Paisley, had denied attacking the woman, 18, as she made her way to work on a Sunday morning in Barrhead, Renfrewshire. After initial friendly conversation at a bus stop, Munro grabbed her by the neck and said he had a gun. He forced her into an adjacent alleyway and made her lie on the ground. He held his hands around her neck until she was unconscious. When she regained consciousness, he was having sex with her.

After the rape, Munro made the woman walk with him through several streets, but she managed to break free and run to a taxi office where she raised the alarm. Her father, who was off duty, said he had received a call from a distraught woman and it took some time to realise it was his daughter. When he met her at the scene, she was crying hysterically and shivering, and her clothes were in disarray.

Munro alleged the woman had been a willing partner. However, the jury convicted him of assaulting and raping her to the danger of her life, and abducting her.

Lord Kinclaven ordered a risk- assessment report on Munro, and these can take several months to be prepared. The case suffered further delays, however, when Munro repeatedly sacked his lawyers and fresh representation had to be found.

Yesterday, Munro appeared on his own at the High Court in Edinburgh, and asked for two weeks to find new lawyers. He said he had been promised a lawyer would have been there for him, but no-one had arrived. Lord Kinclaven said his information was quite different, that Munro's father had a brief meeting with a solicitor and had been informed in clear terms that the firm would not act in the matter. The judge was not prepared to grant another adjournment. Munro said: "It has been going on too long and I can't take any more. I have had enough."

The background report by a forensic psychologist stated that Munro presented a high risk for sexual violent offending, and a high risk to the safety of the public. He derived sexual arousal from violence, it was said.

Munro insisted that the conclusions made by psychologist had not been warranted and that, in any event, he should be released because it had been more than 12 months between his conviction and sentencing.

Lord Kinclaven said he was satisfied the risk criteria required for an order for lifelong restriction had been established.

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