FORMER Scotland and Glasgow Warriors winger Rufus McLean has been sentenced to 120 hours community service and a ten-year non-harassment order after pleading guilty to a 20-month abuse campaign against his ex-partner, Cara Haston.
Meanwhile, the victim’s family have issued a deeply troubling statement citing “verbal abuse from members of the rugby community” in the aftermath of news breaking of McLean’s guilty plea in January.
They have also questioned Scottish Rugby’s handling of the matter, specifically the player’s image remaining on Glasgow Warriors publicity material after his guilty plea and their slowness to respond to the seriousness of the situation.
The family statement said –
As a family, we are relieved that this four year ordeal has come to a conclusion and would like to thank Police Scotland and the Procurator Fiscal’s Office for their support and professionalism.
Throughout this process we have maintained a dignified silence but have had to endure more pain and suffering than any family should. To be confronted by the knowledge that our daughter, Cara, has suffered serious abuse – under Section 1 of the Domestic Abuse Act – over such a prolonged period of time at the hands of the defendant is heart-breaking.
Cara’s life has stood still, and so has that of our family. Unbelievably, Cara has had to endure continued verbal abuse from members of the rugby community. She is the victim, yet it seems that there still remain some young players who do not understand that when a defendant pleads guilty, it is an admission of wrong doing. In the case of Rufus McLean, it means serious abuse of a woman, verbally or otherwise, is totally unacceptable and deserves an appropriate response.
One of the many questions we have for Scottish Rugby. Why was it that after Rufus McLean pleaded guilty to Domestic Abuse (18 months after he was charged), eight days later remaining on Glasgow Warriors publicity material for the second leg of the 1872 Cup match against Edinburgh. It was only after prolonged media attention that they were forced to respond to the seriousness of the situation. We hope that a more stringent procedure is now in place so no other family or young woman has to suffer in this way.
Cara and her family do not wish to make any comment beyond this statement and will not be answering any further questions and would ask the media to respect their wishes.
In sentencing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court this [Thursday] morning, Sheriff Matthew Auchincloss told McLean: “Your behaviour included shouting and swearing, aggressive behaviour with elements of physical contact, as well as behaviour of a controlling type. In assessing your culpability I accept that you may not have intended to cause harm. However, given the extended time period and nature of the behaviour it is clear that you were reckless as to whether harm would be caused and you should have known that there was a risk of harm from your behaviour. From the information available to me there can be no doubt this course of behaviour has caused significant harm to your former partner.
“Taking account of these factors, your offending is serious, and the threshold for a custodial sentence has been crossed. However, as you are both a first offender and being sentenced on summary complaint, you cannot be sent to prison unless the court considers that no other method of dealing with you is appropriate.
“Further, as you are a young person, you have greater capacity to change and a sentence for any young person should seek to reduce the likelihood of that young person being stigmatised.
“I have had full regard to all of the reports made available to the court and the submissions made by Mr Smith. I recognise the dynamics of the relationship may have been difficult. Both you and your former partner faced significant challenges during the relevant time period. You have shown remorse and shame for your behaviour. You fully recognise the hurt and fear your behaviour has caused your ex-partner. In these circumstances I consider that there is an appropriate alternative to a custodial sentence.
“I am proposing to impose Community Payback Order with a single requirement that you carry out a number of hours of unpaid work or other activity. If convicted after trial, and you were not a young person in terms of the sentencing guideline, that would have been for 200 hours. Given you are a young person the starting point for any sentence should be lower. For you that is 150 hours. The timing or your guilty plea means that will be further reduced to 120 hours. You will have nine months to complete the hours.
“I am also making a Non-Harassment Order that you do not contact or approach your former partner, named in the charge, in any way for a period of 10 years.”
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