SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

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. 

Once charges are spent, any statement in relation to them is removed. Statements published before the launch of the website may be available on request. Please email judicialcomms@scotcourts.gov.uk

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.

For more information about how judges decide sentences; what sentences are available; and matters such as temporary release, see the independent Scottish Sentencing Council website.

Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.

Read more about civil judgments.

HMA v Gary Morris

 

Nov 8, 2021

At the High Court in Dundee, Lord Summers sentenced Gary Morris to 9 years and 4 months imprisonment after the offender pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class A Drug, contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

 

On sentencing Lord Summers made the following statement in court:

"Gary Morris you have pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug, namely cocaine contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, section 4(3)(b).

The period of supply referred to in the indictment is between 25 September 2018 and 18 March 2020, a period of approximately 1 year and six months.  You have also pleaded guilty to the aggravation attached to the indictment to the effect that your conduct was connected to serious organised crime.

I have been advised that you were arrested after a period of covert surveillance undertaken by Police Scotland. The Crown narrative and the Criminal Justice Social Work report indicate that you ran a supply chain in Scotland. At your behest a group of men distributed drugs throughout the central belt. In the CJSW report you indicate that the business became so large it occupied every waking hour. You advise that you could on some days receive a hundred telephone calls or text messages. 

The Police operation discovered that the drugs you received and sold on were concealed in gas canisters.  The drugs were stored in safe houses and after being adulterated disseminated through the central belt. Mobile phones recovered in the operation were found to have been encrypted to conceal your activities from law enforcement agencies. In order to conceal the true nature of your work you set up a company. It was a sham and designed to conceal your true source of income.

The drugs recovered on the day the Police executed their search warrants was around £1.5 million. It is assessed that the street value was in excess of £4m.

In assessing the appropriate sentence I consider that I should take into account the sentences passed on your associates.  Some of those who worked for you have been sentenced and in some cases their sentences have been reviewed by the Appeal Court. Daniel Martin received a sentence of 4 years imprisonment. James Tinney’s sentence was reduced to 5 years on appeal. Robert Lennie was sentenced to a period of 6 years imprisonment. James Duffy’s sentence was set at to 7 years and 6 months by the Appeal Court to take account of an early plea of guilty. The Appeal Court indicated that but for the early plea the sentence would have been 10 years.

These men worked for you.  They were the people you used to operate your supply network. That being so I consider that your culpability is greater and that this should be reflected in the sentence passed. In the case of James Duffy it would appear that the charge was restricted to one day.  In your case the charge overs approximately a year and a half.  Given the amount of drugs that must have flowed through your operation in the period in question and the value of the haul recovered on the day of the Police raid, I consider that comparative justice requires a higher sentence than those passed on your associates.  

You are not a youth. This crime was committed when you were an adult. Notwithstanding the impact that a lengthy sentence will have on your family I consider that your age accentuates your culpability.

The Crown have drawn my attention to your previous convictions. They involve six convictions for road traffic offences, one is for summary assault and breach of the peace convictions from 2002 and 2007. In my opinion these convictions are not analogous to the present crime and I have disregarded them in fixing the appropriate sentence. I approach the sentence therefore as if this was a first time offence for the crime in question. 

I also take account of your CJSW report. It is evident from the report that you recognise your wrong doing. You have made a clean breast of your conduct. I accept that your co-operation with the authorities and your acceptance of responsibility is a mitigating factor. I note that you are regarded as presenting a medium risk of re-offending. I have come to the view however that given the lack of previous drugs offences, your co-operative attitude and the remorse demonstrated in the CJSW report, as well as your age on release, that an extended sentence would not be appropriate.

Having regard to these circumstances I consider the range for sentence is between 12 and 16 years. After careful deliberation I have come to the view that a headline sentence of 14 years imprisonment is appropriate. I have decided that I should apportion 6 months of the overall sentence to the aggravation of connection to serious organised crime rather than augment the overall sentence.

This sentence falls to be reduce by one third in light of your early plea. In the result I sentence you to 9 years and 4 months imprisonment. This sentence will run from 1 September 2021 when you were remanded in custody."

5 November 2021