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HMA v Paul McManus


Aug 10, 2023

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Tyre sentenced Paul McManus to a custodial term of 6 years and 8 months, with an extension period of 3 years, after the offender pled guilty to attempted murder.

Lord Tyre told McManus:

“You have pled guilty to a charge of attempted murder of Graham Smith, during a fight outside the Tower Bar in Livingston, when you smashed a bottle over his head and repeatedly kicked him and stamped on his head while he was lying on the ground.  I have seen the CCTV footage and the most striking feature is the number of times when having walked away you went back to kick and stamp on him yet again.  The injuries sustained by Graham Smith were severe and potentially life-threatening.  He was barely conscious when the ambulance arrived, and he has been left with scarring and some loss of function in his left hand.  It is fortunate that there have been no more serious permanent consequences for him.

I have read the criminal justice social work report that has been prepared on my instructions.  I note that you have no recollection of what we watched on the CCTV footage, due to the effects of alcohol.  It seems from the report that consumption of excessive alcohol is a serious problem for you, leading as it does to violent and aggressive behaviour and to you committing criminal offences involving violence.

I have listened carefully to what has been said on your behalf this morning by Mr Lavelle.  I accept that your remorse for what you did is genuine, but that cannot in any way excuse it.

You have a bad record of violence, having previously served a term of imprisonment for assault and attempted robbery, and having had a restriction of liberty order imposed for police assaults.  Most recently in 2021 you were given a non-custodial sentence for assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement.  In these circumstances it is not surprising that you have been assessed as presenting a very high risk, the specific risk factors including your alcohol and drug problem, pro criminal attitudes, anti-social pattern of behaviour, criminal history, and companions.  The risk assessor concluded that the risk of your committing further offences will remain while you continue to associate with, and respond aggressively to, others who are involved in similar behaviour, that you have the propensity to use a significant level of violence with the use of weapons, when confronted with conflict or when you feel threatened.  You need to address your risks in relation to alcohol and drug misuse, and violence, through meaningful engagement with offence focused work to reduce the risks of further violent offending.  For these reasons I also consider it necessary to make provision for protection of the public after your release.

I intend therefore to impose an extended sentence which falls into two parts.  The first part is called the custodial term and it sets the period which you should spend in prison.  If you had not pled guilty when you did, I would have regarded a custodial term of ten years to be appropriate for the offence you committed.  In recognition of your guilty plea I sentence you to imprisonment for a period of six years and eight months, backdated to 31 October 2022 when you were remanded in custody. 

The second part of the extended sentence is called the extension period, during which you will be released on licence on conditions which will be fixed at that time by the Scottish Ministers.  Should you breach those conditions or commit another offence, you may be returned to prison in respect of the current matters.  This would be over and above any punishment for a new offence.  I consider that the need to protect the public from you requires me to fix the extension period at three years.  The total extended sentence that I am imposing is therefore a period of nine years and eight months.

It is obvious that you must use the time in prison and after your release to participate in offence-focused courses to eliminate your tendency to resort to violence, especially when you have had too much to drink.  If you do not do that you will continue in an escalating pattern of violence and spend much of your life behind bars.”

10 August 2023