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 Abel Nidal Houmeidame Diaz & John Patrick Killy MacDonald
Nov 18, 2020
On sentencing, Lord Boyd made the following statement in court:
“You have both been convicted on your own pleas of a series of thefts by housebreaking and a charge of reset. The thefts all took place in Edinburgh. In most cases you obtained access to properties by pretending to the householder that you were there to inspect the water supply. On one occasion you broke into the house disturbing the householder who was lying on her bed listening to music. Two of your victims were over 90 years of age and another victim was particularly vulnerable.
The monetary value of the goods stolen in these thefts was not great, though in one case amounted to over £2,600. However some of the items stolen had sentimental value which cannot be measured in money terms. Your crimes also caused significant emotional distress, particularly to your elderly victims. I have a victim statement from one of them which eloquently describes the lasting psychological effects on her.
People have a right to feel secure in their own homes. Your offending violated that security causing significant distress to the home owners. Counsel rightly described them as despicable.
Charge 27 is a charge of reset. A bag containing over 100 items of jewellery, including 20 watches was recovered from the house you both stayed in. The value was approximately £2,000. That charge indicates the scale of criminal activity going beyond the proceeds of the five theft charges to which you have both pleaded guilty.
In determining the sentence I have to consider not only issues of punishment, rehabilitation and marking society’s disapproval but also the protection of the public. The sentence must be one which acts as a deterrent to others who may be tempted to commit similar offences.
In mitigation both have pointed to the significant drug problems which have contributed to these offences. I am pleased to hear that you both have made efforts to address your addiction. While I take that into account it is no excuse for these offences.
I accept that you were the junior partner in this enterprise. You are younger than your co-accused. You have only one analogous conviction. You fully answered questions during the police interview. I have taken into account the terms of the social work report and your personal circumstances.
The plea was tendered and accepted on 9 September. I am told however that the plea was agreed subject to one outstanding matter on 10 January. Significantly I am told that your counsel advised the Crown that its case could be agreed in its entirety. That is of significant utilitarian benefit which I take into account in determining the discount to be applied.
I will sentence you to 3 years imprisonment, discounted from a headline sentence of 4 years. The sentence will be backdated to 25 July 2019.
You are 55 years old and have spent 20 years of adult life in prison. I am pleased to hear your intention of turning your life around but that will need a determined effort on your part. I have taken all your personal circumstances into account.
You are currently serving a sentence of imprisonment in England with an earliest release date of 16 August 2021. I take that into account.
I shall sentence you to 3 years 4 months imprisonment. Had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a sentence of 5 years imprisonment. I discount that to a sentence of three years 9 months for the early plea and subtract another 5 months in consideration of the time you spent on remand on this matter.
The sentence will be consecutive to the sentence you are currently serving in England.”