John Roberts Munro v Her Majesty’s Advocate

3rd September 2010

Details of Key Persons

Background

On 24th January 2008, at the High Court Kilmarnock, John Roberts Munro was found guilty of two charges. The charges libelled that:

“(2) On 1 April 2007 at Cross Arthurlie Street, Barrhead, you did assault [LM], seize her by the neck, threaten her that you had a gun, compel her to accompany you to an alleyway adjacent thereto, force her to the ground, lie on top of her and restrain her on the ground, kiss her on the face and lick her face and neck, place your hands around her neck and compress same, restrict her breathing to her loss of consciousness and to the danger of her life, hold your arms across her upper body, pull down her pants and trousers and did rape her.

(3) On 1 April 2007 at an alleyway next to Cross Arthurlie Street, Barrhead, you did abduct [LM], detain her against her will, tell her not to say anything or attempt to run away, seize her by the body and compel her to accompany you to Robertson Street, Saunders Court, John Street and Cross Arthurlie Street, all Barrhead.”

“However, the circumstances in the appellant’s case were different. I took the view that possession of weapons in a public place did not fall to be automatically covered by a cloak of “reasonable excuse” simply because at the relevant time the person concerned was in the course of a journey which would end up at home. That would be in effect to grant safe passage through the country for weapons of this kind with no legitimate purpose brought in from abroad.”

After the conviction the trial judge adjourned the diet in order to obtain a Social Equiry Report and a Risk Assessment. The next year, after a series of continuations, he imposed an order for lifelong restriction with a punishment part of 8 years.

Appeal

Munro’s appeal against his conviction centred on there having been insufficient evidence to prove rape, notable the lack of corroboration of penetration. This objection is supported by the lack of any narrative offered by the complainer. Other than that she was aged 18, was going to work on a Sunday morning and was a stranger to the appellant, her account is a generalisation that the attack took place as libelled.

Conclusion

In response to the questioning of corroboration the trial judge reports refers specifically to evidence from a forensic scientist. This evidence describes the finding of a pubic hair on the crotch of the complainer’s pants and DNA on the front of her trousers. DNA analysis found the hair to be from the appellant.

Some time was spent analysing the findings of the forensic scientist through cross-examination and re-examination. After a series of series of questions asking if the evidence was “consistent with” penetration – to which the answer was in the affirmative – a general answer regarding the findings was posed. The answer was as such:

“Our findings when considered with the content of the joint report from SPSA Forensic Services, Aberdeen would support an assertion that intimate contact has taken place between [LM’s] pubic area and John Munro”.

Ultimately, it was found that the forensic evidence did in fact corroborate penetration. With the central point of Munro’s appeal quashed the appeal against conviction failed and was therefore refused.

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