A judge may decide to publish a statement after passing sentence on an offender in cases where there is particular public interest; where a case has legal significance; or where providing the reasons for the decision might assist public understanding.
Please note that statements may include graphic details of offences when it is necessary to fully explain the reasons behind a sentencing decision.
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When deciding a sentence, a judge must deal with the offence that the offender has been convicted of, taking into account the unique circumstances of each particular case. The judge will carefully consider the facts that are presented to the Court by both the prosecution and by the defence.
Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.
HMA v Keith Rizzo
Apr 6, 2020
On sentencing, Lady Rae made the following statement in court:
“You have been convicted, unanimously, by a jury of the senseless and brutal murder of your girlfriend, a young woman in the prime of her life. She was only 23 years of age.
The evidence in this trial demonstrated that, despite your relative youth, you are a jealous and possessive young man. You were abusive towards your previous partners, including the deceased, whom you had assaulted prior to the date of her murder. You also have a previous conviction for a domestic assault. Such conduct is never acceptable in any relationship. You clearly have a very concerning attitude towards women.
On the night of the killing you became very angry because your girlfriend had the audacity to dance with others in a public house where it would appear a number of young people were simply trying to enjoy themselves after attending a local agricultural show. So angry were you that you pushed a table over and the deceased left the bar. Shortly after, you followed her home and so enraged were you that, you kicked in the flat door.
Only you can reveal the precise series of events thereafter but what is now known and rightly acknowledged by the jury’s unanimous verdict, is that you carried out a savage, vicious and prolonged attack on a defenceless young woman in the kitchen of the flat which you shared with her.
This young women suffered at least 26 stab wounds and 32 blunt force injuries. You cut her throat twice from one side to the other and attempted to strangle her. You were obviously determined to kill her. I note from the criminal justice social work report, while continuing to deny your guilt, you claim that you were embarrassed by your girlfriend’s behaviour. You described her as being “disrespectful’ and “provocative” and you intended to “sort it out”. What a price this young woman paid for trying to enjoy herself.
Not satisfied with killing her, you then set out to concoct the most fanciful account, or more correctly, diverse and fanciful accounts, of how she died at the hands of two mystery men who appeared to have vanished into thin air. These fictional accounts have only served to enhance the suffering already experienced by your victim’s family. All of this shows a callous attitude of someone who has done his utmost, regardless of the emotional distress caused to others, to avoid taking any responsibility for this brutal crime. I do not know if you have read the victim impact statements but it is clear that yet again, a family has been devastated by senseless violence, fueled by alcohol.
You have expressed no remorse and it is apparent from the back ground report that your only concern is the impact this conviction has had on you.
I shall take account of your personal circumstances, relative youth
and lack of a serious record of convictions otherwise there is no real mitigation which could be offered in this case.
There is only one sentence which I can impose in such a case and that is life imprisonment.
I require also to set a punishment part, that is, the minimum period of time that you require to serve in prison to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence.
The effect of this will be that you will not be eligible for parole or release until the punishment part has expired. Thereafter it will be for the Parole Board for Scotland to consider whether, at that stage, you still present a risk to the public, or, whether you can be released on a life licence with appropriate conditions. If you are still considered a serious risk, after the punishment part has expired, you will not be released.
I should also make clear that in fixing a punishment part I have taken account of the fact that this murder was committed in the context of a domestic relationship and that in itself is an aggravation.
In these circumstances I shall not further increase the punishment part in terms of the aggravation under the 2016 stature as averred in the indictment.
On charge 6 the sentence will be one of 6 months imprisonment.
On charge 7 the sentence will be 18 months imprisonment.
There periods will run concurrently with each other and concurrently with the punishment part that which I am about to impose all of which will all be backdated to 11 June 2019 when you were first remanded in custody.
On charge 9, the murder charge, you will be sentenced to life imprisonment and in view of the particular circumstances of this particular case, the punishment part will be one of 22 years."