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.
Follow us if you wish to receive alerts as soon as statements are published.
Statements are removed after around 12 months, but may be available on request. Please email email@example.com.
The independence of the judiciary is essential to safeguard people’s rights under law - enabling judges to make decisions impartially based solely on evidence and law, without interference or influence from the government or politicians.
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 Steven Bryceland
May 27, 2021
On sentencing Lord Richardson made the following statement in court:
“Steven Bryceland you have pled guilty to the murder of Christopher Nicol or Caraher.
The sentence for murder is fixed by law and that sentence will shortly be imposed on you. At the same time I must fix the punishment part for your sentence, being the period which you must spend in full in prison before you can apply to the Parole Board for Scotland to be released on licence.
The punishment part must satisfy the requirements for retribution and deterrence taking into account the seriousness of the murder combined with your previous convictions but ignoring any period of confinement which may be necessary for the protection of the public.
I accept, as has been emphasised by Mr McConnachie on your behalf, that your criminal record does not disclose any analogous or relevant convictions with the exception of your conviction for carrying a knife in 1997 and that is clearly some time ago.
I also recognise that there was a lengthy period from 2003 until the present incident during which, with one minor exception, you had no convictions.
There is no doubt that the present offence is very much more serious than anything you have done previously.
I have also taken into account everything else that has been said on your behalf by Mr McConnachie today. I take into account the background of your own drug use, that of your partner and your other personal circumstances.
I am also prepared to accept that you have expressed genuine regret and remorse for what you did.
However, the fact remains that you murdered Mr Caraher. You had gone to his home, armed with a knife, prepared and fully intending to rob him. In the course of the ensuing struggle you stabbed him three times, in front of his partner and young children.
In this regard, I have also carefully considered the Victim Impact Statement prepared by Mr Caraher’s mother Karen Nicol. It is apparent that your actions that day has had and continues to have a profound impact on the surviving members of Mr Caraher’s family.
I sentence you to life imprisonment and I impose a punishment part of 17 years (which is reduced from 18 years to take account of your plea of guilty).
This will run from 13 November 2019 the date on which you were remanded in custody.”
26 May 2021