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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 Michael Joseph Dorey
Aug 15, 2022
On sentencing, Lord Arthurson said:
"Michael Joseph Dorey, on 11 August 2022 in this court in the course of the float period of a dedicated floating trial diet you pled guilty to a charge libelling the murder by you on 6 April 2021 of Jacqueline Grant. Ms Grant was aged 54 and was the mother of four children, including your former partner. She had four grandchildren. Ms Grant had significant health issues, including mobility problems which required her to use a walking frame outside her home. One of her daughters acted as her carer.
"At some point between 0027 hours and 0050 hours on 6 April 2021 at her home address you repeatedly struck Ms Grant on the head and body with a knife or knives, thereby inflicting unsurvivable injuries upon her. At a later post‑mortem examination multiple sharp force injuries were noted, including the 34 injuries detailed in the post‑mortem report. Most of these were stab wounds. One had cut the left common carotid artery and two had caused damage to the right internal jugular vein. On any view severe force was used by you to inflict at least some of the many injuries which you perpetrated against your victim. You attended hospital in respect of some injuries which you yourself had sustained. At no point when you were speaking to anyone at the hospital did you advise that Ms Grant was lying severely injured in her home. The daughter who was Ms Grant’s carer, having repeatedly called her mother, arrived at Ms Grant’s home at about 1715 hours. The distressing scene that awaited her in the hallway, as described in the Crown narrative and represented in later photographs which have been presented to the court, was akin to a scene from a charnel house.
"You are aged 48 and have accrued to date 18 groups of previous convictions, including three for the crime of assault to injury, two of these being domestically aggravated and one involving the use by you of a blunt object, the latter being a conviction on indictment. Notwithstanding your lengthy and unenviable record, it is of note that you have not served any prior custodial sentence, and, standing the nature and gravity of the crime presently before the court, in my view your criminal antecedents are of little moment for the purposes of the sentencing exercise which requires to be undertaken in this case.
"I have considered with care the submissions which have been advanced on your behalf in mitigation by your senior counsel. In particular I note what has been said in respect of the late timing of this plea and the background to that. I also note your position, expressed through your senior counsel, that you have no memory at all of the events surrounding the death of your victim; that you are distraught at the catastrophic events which occurred in Ms Grant’s home, for which you accept responsibility; and, that, by your plea of guilty, you have fulfilled your wish to spare the family of Ms Grant the requirement of giving evidence.
"The sentence for the crime of murder is fixed by law and is one of imprisonment for life. The court also requires to impose as part of the sentencing exercise a period known as the punishment part of that disposal. The punishment part is the number of years which you must serve before you can be considered for release on licence. Please understand that in setting this tariff the court is not fixing the time when you will be released; instead, the court is fixing the number of years which must be served by you before you can apply for release. The punishment part does not take into account the need for public protection. That important matter is taken into account if and when any application is made by you for your release on licence. The punishment part does, however, take into account the sentencing requirements of retribution and deterrence.
"In selecting an appropriate punishment part tariff I take principally into account the gravity of the index offence. Your crime in this case can properly be characterised as a sustained and murderous attack with a bladed weapon or weapons upon a vulnerable older lady in her own home, which attack was, although unplanned, both brutal and ferocious in its savagery and scale. With the exception of your acceptance of responsibility by way of your late plea of guilty and the remorse expressed by you through your senior counsel, there are in my view no discernible material mitigating factors in your case.
"In all of these circumstances, by way of disposal on charge 4 of this indictment, I now accordingly pass a sentence upon you of imprisonment for life. The punishment part of that sentence will be fixed at a period of 19 years. But for your lately tendered plea of guilty the punishment part period would have been one of 20 years. This sentence will be backdated to 14 April 2021, being the date of your initial remand in custody in these proceedings."