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HMA v Paul Davidson


Feb 11, 2021

At the High Court in Edinburgh today Lord Boyd of Duncansby imposed an extended sentence of 7 years with a custodial part of 5 years on Paul Davidson after the accused pleaded guilty to a brutal, sustained assault.


On sentencing, Lord Boyd made the following statement in court:

“On 4 October 2020 you, along with two others forced your way into Gary Robinson’s house at Sleigh Drive Edinburgh. You knocked him unconscious, tied him to a chair, bound his mouth with tape and subjected him to a brutal, sustained assault, striking him repeatedly on the head and body with a hammer and knife. On you own account the assault lasted 5 or 10 minutes.

The forensic medical officer who examined Mr Robinson in hospital said that he had suffered significant head trauma. The pattern of the injuries noted to his head, torso and limbs was consistent with a systematic, prolonged and repetitive blunt force assault with some injuries consistent with blows from a hammer or mallet.  Taken together the injuries were severe and potentially life threatening.

Having ransacked the house you them made off with an iPad, mobile phone, money and a CCTV system.

There are a number of explanations for motive. Two of them, which I regard as contradictory, come from your account to the social worker. You told him that you went there to plead with Mr Robinson not to sell your father drugs. But you also told him that you accompanied a friend who himself wanted to purchase drugs from Mr Robinson.

Your counsel tells me that the background is a long going dispute between a man called Forbsy, who is an associate of your father’s and Mr Robinson and that threats had been made to you and your family. But it is also clear from the Crown narrative that you were looking for money and that at least part of the motive was robbery.

This must have been a terrifying ordeal, not only for Mr Robinson but for the two women who witnessed the attack. While the background to these events is no doubt drugs, and I am told threats to the family, that does not excuse the nature of this attack.

Two weeks later you returned with another male to the same property, broke into it and were clearly intent on theft. The police were called and you were both arrested.

I have listened carefully to what has been said on your behalf. You clearly had a very troubled childhood. You have shown however that when at liberty you can form meaningful relationships and obtain employment. You have expressed a willingness to address your offending behaviour and a desire to make full use of your time in prison to better yourself by undertaking an Open University degree. While I am not entirely convinced by the account of what occurred it is clear that you were otherwise frank and open with the social worker who compiled the criminal justice report.

You have a bad criminal record which includes a conviction for assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement and robbery, a conviction for assault to injury and robbery; 2 convictions for assault and robbery; 3 further convictions for violence and a conviction for possession of a knife. Two of these convictions are from the High Court. It was because of that record and the nature of the assault in charge 1 that I obtained a criminal justice social work report so that I could consider whether the criteria for an extended sentence were met.

I note the social worker’s view that you presented as someone with what he termed “pro-social” attitudes and that you had expressed remorse for your behaviour. It is five years since your last conviction for violent behaviour and the gap in offending shows that you can refrain from offending in a violent manner.

Nevertheless given the pattern and the violent nature of the previous offences together with the brutal nature of this assault the conclusion is that there is a high risk of further and serious harm to the public.

I agree with that assessment and am satisfied that the criteria for an extended sentence is met.

I take into account your attitude to work and relationships which you displayed while at liberty, your remorse and your apparent desire to better yourself together with the gap in serious violent offending. Nevertheless this was a brutal and sustained assault which could have had far more serious consequences.

Had you been convicted after trial I would have sentenced you to a cumulative sentence on both charges of 9 years 6 months. The custodial part of that sentence would have been 7 years 6 months of which 6 months would have been attributable to the bail aggravations and 2 years extended. Having regard to the fact that you have pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity I shall discount the custodial part of the sentence to 5 years.

The result is that you will serve an extended sentence of 7 years of which 5 years will be the custodial part. The sentence will be backdated to 20 October 2020.”

11 February 2021