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.
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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 Jack McBride
Jun 7, 2022
On sentencing Lady Haldane made the following statement in court:
"The events of 1st April 2020 have had an indelible impact upon the family of John Winters, and are likely to impact upon your life for a long period of time, if not the whole of your life. On that day, you chose, for reasons you now accept are trivial and in no way justify the outcome, to leave your home, armed with a knife, and confront John Winters. There was evidence of a verbal altercation between you, and of the efforts of another man present to lead you away and encourage you to return home. That is advice you undoubtedly ought to have taken but chose not to, at least not immediately.
However there was also evidence that John Winters pursued you from behind, that he ran the length of a high flats building, and struck you with the blunt end of an axe with which he had armed himself. This, the crown accepted, amounted to provocation and you stabbed him once with the knife you were carrying, whereupon he died shortly afterwards.
No sentence I can pronounce can bring Mr Winters back to his family, nor can it undo your actions. However I have given careful consideration to the CJSWR which has been prepared, and this makes clear that you have suffered a number of adverse childhood experiences which may go some way to explaining, if not excusing, your actions. The report also discloses that you show considerable insight into your actions, and that you have expressed real and genuine remorse for acting in the way that you did. Perhaps most significantly, it identifies that you are making sincere efforts to try and produce something positive out of this experience, that you are studying for Highers, and that you are also undertaking vocational training as a barber, to try and prepare yourself for the future.
You are also taking part in the mentoring scheme, which is to your great credit. I commend you for doing these things, and give you every possible encouragement to continue with that positive approach which gives some real grounds for optimism that you may face a future that is considerably brighter than your past.
I note that the report also identifies that a negative factor in your life is your continuing friendship with friends with pro criminal lifestyles. I hope it is abundantly clear to you now that you must leave such friendships behind if you are to give yourself the best chance of making a positive contribution to society in the future. You have also had issues in the past with alcohol and substance misuse and these too are factors you will have to try and put behind you in the future.
I have also had the benefit of a careful and helpful submission on your behalf from Mr Ross. I have taken into account everything that he has said, in particular the significant factor of the support you have from family members which I have no doubt you appreciate is very important. I have also had regard to the principles and purposes of sentencing and the guidelines on the sentencing of young people in considering sentence in this case.
I am mindful that a period of detention should only be imposed on a person of your age when no other method of dealing with sentence is appropriate. I am of the view that where the life of another has been taken it would not be appropriate to consider a sentence that did not involve a period of detention, and that this requires to be a significant period, whilst taking into account your youth in particular. Had you been found guilty after trial, I would have sentenced you to a period of detention of 7 years. I accept that your plea, tendered during the course of the trial, had some modest utilitarian benefit and I will accordingly sentence you to a period of detention of 6 years 8 months. You have been detained since 20th April 2020 and I will backdate your sentence to that date."
7 June 2022