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 and cannot be provided or acknowledged. Statements published before the launch of the website may be available on request. Please email

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 Ryan McCabe


Sep 25, 2023

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Scott sentenced Ryan McCabe to Life Imprisonment with a punishment part of 17 years, after the offender was convicted of the murder of Liam Maloney.

On sentencing Lord Scott made the following remarks in court:

"You have been found guilty of the murder of Liam Maloney on 5 May 2022, a little over a year ago.  In convicting you, the jury rejected your claim of having acted due to provocation.  The murder involved 2 blows with a knife, a weapon that you brought to the locus. CCTV footage showed you striding quickly towards Mr Maloney as you pulled out a large knife in a manner inconsistent with your claim that you merely reacted to what he did.

There are three victim impact statements in this case, prepared by Liam Maloney’s mother Sharon Maloney, father James Maloney, and sister Jodie Maloney.  I understand that members of Mr Maloney’s family have attended here today.  I am grateful to them for sharing their grief and loss with me through these statements.  They have helped to give a wider view of Mr Maloney than that available in a trial concerned only with his murder during which it seemed to me that you sought to blacken his character in an attempt to excuse your own behaviour. The victim impact statements have particularly assisted me in understanding the losses to that family, including Mr Maloney’s 3 young sons. His mother has explained why she feels unable to go out alone any more. His father has described still seeing Liam Maloney in the back of his car as he drove him to hospital in a sadly unsuccessful attempt to save his life. His sister now suffers panic attacks and struggles to sleep.

It is clear that there has been a significant and lasting impact on Mr Maloney’s family.  Nothing said or done here today, and no sentence I impose will be enough to help them with the devastating loss of a much loved father, son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend to many.

Before passing sentence, I asked for a Criminal Justice Social Work Report.  This was with a view to finding out more about your background and any other information relevant to your previous offending.  I have now read that report and what it says about trauma you suffered as a child. It explains your health problems, including the mental health issues affecting you since your conviction in 2020 and the consequent dismissal from employment. However, you are now a man of 49 and entirely responsible for your own behaviour and the perplexing decisions you have made to become involved in serious and now fatal offending when already well into your 40s. You too are a father and the sentence I impose will have an impact on your children and partner. This is due entirely to your decisions on 5 May 2022 which, even taken favourably for you, would still involve you having decided to take the law into your own hands.

I note that you maintained a similar position in interview with the author of the CJSW report as you did in your evidence which involves you accepting no meaningful responsibility for what happened. You have repeated much of what you said in evidence, including, for example, that one reason you were out on the street was to look out for your daughter. The court is still waiting on an answer from you as to why, if your daughter was your true concern, you did not simply phone her. On the evidence, it is certainly true that Mr Maloney had an axe. It appears also that he struck you with it, albeit resulting in no substantial injury. You, on the other hand, brought a large knife to the encounter and struck a fatal blow that makes more sense as having been inflicted in anger rather than fear.

You have a single previous conviction on indictment for a directly analogous matter, although you have not previously been sentenced to imprisonment. That conviction certainly aggravates the gravity of your situation today. That case offered you a warning about your reaction to apparent or perceived threats to members of your family. It is a warning you failed to heed.

I have considered all that is said in the Criminal Justice Social Work Report and all that has been carefully said on your behalf by Mr Roy.  I take into account also the violent nature of this murder and your previous conviction.

In the circumstances and as required by law, I sentence you to life imprisonment and specify a punishment part of 17 years.  The punishment part will run from 10 May 2022.  You should understand that this is not a sentence of 17 years’ imprisonment – 17 years is the minimum period of time you will have to serve before you can be considered for parole.  Whether, and if so, when, you are released will be a matter for the Parole Board to determine after that 17 year period and will be decided on the basis of the risk you are assessed to pose at that time.

In respect of charge 2, you are simply admonished as that charge was an intrinsic part of charge 1.”


25 September 2023