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HMA v James Curran


Apr 21, 2023

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Doherty sentenced James Curran to 3 years and 4 months imprisonment after the offender pled guilty to having three improvised explosive devices. The sentence also includes a 12 month supervised release order.

In sentencing, Lord Doherty said:

“James Curran, you have pled guilty to a contravention of s4 of the Explosive Substances Act 1883 between 1 November 2020 and 24 August 2021. You made three improvised explosive devices, which consisted of fireworks with attached packages containing nails and ball bearings. Your explanation for making them is that you wished to see whether you could make them. You maintain that you had no intention of exploding them or of harming any person. On your behalf it has been emphasised that there is no suggestion of any connection with either terrorism or serious organised crime.

The background to the offence and the motivation of the offender are matters to which I require to have regard when passing sentence. However even on the basis that your motivation was experimentation with no intention to explode the devices or to cause harm, the offence remains a very serious one. There was the potential for very serious harm being caused by the devices if they exploded near people. There is also a strong need to deter others from making or possessing such devices without a lawful purpose.

I have had regard to everything which has been said on your behalf. You are a first offender. You were gainfully employed for about 30 years until illness intervened in 2010. You have had physical and mental illness. I also take account of the fact that you offered to plead guilty at an early stage by s76 letter.

Had you not pled guilty the sentence I would have imposed would have been an extended sentence of 7 years’ imprisonment with the custodial part being 5 years and the extension period being 2 years.

In light of your plea the sentence which I shall impose is 3 years and 4 months imprisonment, but in order to protect the public from serious harm on your release I shall also impose a supervised release order. Accordingly I order that on your release from custody you will be under the supervision of the local authority for a period of 12 months. During that period you will report to the supervising officer allocated to supervise you in a manner and at intervals specified by him or her; you will keep your supervising officer informed of your current address and you will comply with any other requirement which he or she may reasonably specify.

If you breach the order you may be brought back to court and returned to custody for all or any part of a period equal to that between the date of your first breach of the order and the date when your supervision would expire.  

That sentence will run from 24 March 2023.”

21 April 2023