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HMA v James Galt


May 15, 2024

At the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Matthews sentenced James Galt to 4 years and 6 months imprisonment after the offender pled guilty to assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment and the danger of life.

On sentencing Lord Matthews made the following remarks in court:

"Mr Galt you pled guilty at a trial diet to assaulting John Fox to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment and the danger of his life by striking him on the wrist with a knife. You were subject to 2 bail orders at the time. You originally faced a charge of attempted murder.

You and he were in your flat drinking.

During the late evening, while the complainer was sitting on the couch you picked up a large knife and grabbed his right arm, holding onto his fingers with your right hand. You then began to move the knife in a sawing motion on the complainer’s right wrist, causing a large laceration to the top of his wrist. The complainer saw blood going everywhere from the injury to his wrist and was scared and shocked. You stopped hacking at his wrist, went to the kitchen and got a towel which you gave to the complainer to wrap around the wound.

You then put the knife underneath the coffee table, where you normally kept it, and sat down next to the complainer. You said to him “YOU’RE NOT LEAVING” and then fell asleep.

The complainer managed to escape when you did so and Police officers, who found him at a bus stop, took him to hospital.

 He was found to have a large deep laceration to the dorsal aspect of the right wrist which had severed two tendons and a nerve.

The injury required surgery and he was then fitted with a splint which he had to wear for 4 weeks.

There was a possibility, described as small, that he could have bled to death had he not received medical treatment and it was fortunate that you did not cut an artery.

As it is he has been left with a permanent scar. He has had limited mobility in his wrist and fingers following the attack and his right ring finger and pinky remain permanently numb. These fingers go into painful spasms regularly and they are deformed.

You have a number of previous convictions, mostly for sexual offences, but there is nothing in your record which is directly analogous to this offence.

I have taken account of everything said on your behalf and the contents of the Criminal Justice Social Work report.

You are now 77 years old and you have a number of significant health concerns as well as an extensive history of problems with alcohol. I have no doubt that drink played a part in this offence but it is no excuse.

Given your age I am prepared to impose a sentence which is less than it would have been for someone younger. Had the matter gone to trial I would have imprisoned you for 5 years, with 6 months being attributable to the bail aggravation.

I am prepared to reduce that sentence in recognition of the fact that your plea had some utilitarian value so the sentence is one of imprisonment for 4 years and 6 months. It will run from 21 October 2022."

15 May 2024