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 Rizwan Afzal


Jul 3, 2024

At the High Court in Dundee, Lady Drummond sentenced Rizwan Afzal to 3 years imprisonment after the offender pled guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He was also disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of 8 years.

On sentencing Lady Drummond made the following remarks in court:

"Mr Afzal, you pled guilty to causing death and severe injury by dangerous driving.

The circumstances were that around 6pm on Friday 21 January 2022, Mrs Doreen Stewart attended her daughter's home, spending the evening with her and her grandchild. At around 10pm, she left to go home by car.

At about 10.15pm you were driving on a rural B class road that links Hallglen and Shieldhill. It is a two-way road, with a speed limit of 60 mph. There is no street lighting. Your friend was a front seat passenger. 

You approached a sharp, left-hand bend in the road, from your direction of travel. The sharp bend is marked by a warning sign with arrows to the left. The word “slow’ is marked on the road before the bend too.

At about the same time, Mrs Stewart was approaching the bend in the opposite direction from you. You failed to properly negotiate the bend and crossed the solid white lines fully into the opposite side of the road and collided head on with Mrs Stewart’s car. The road surface was wet at the time of the collision. Collision experts have assessed that the maximum speed for negotiating the bend without crossing into the other side of the road is approximately 42 mph. You estimate your speed to have been about 55mph. The collision was caused by your driving at excessive speed for the road conditions, by your failure to comply with the road signs and failure to slow down on your approach to the bend which caused you to lose control of your car.

Despite members of the public doing all they could to assist Mrs Stewart, she sadly and tragically died from the injuries she suffered. The passenger in your car was treated in hospital for a fractured collar bone, tenderness to ribs and bruising. He made a full recovery.

Mrs Stewart was seventy two years of age when she died. She had retired after working at Heriot Watt University. She is survived by her husband, daughter, two grandchildren and her brother.

I have read victim impact statements from Mrs Stewart’s family. They describe a very much loved and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt. They feel the weight of her absence as overwhelming. Their loss has been devastating. Mr Stewart describes his life as being destroyed by his wife’s life being so needlessly taken. No sentence which this court can impose will reflect the severity of their loss or grief.

You have two previous convictions. You were convicted of breach of bail and assault to injury on 17 October 2019 and fined. On 22 June 2021, about 6 months before this offence, you were convicted of a speeding offence, fined and disqualified from driving for two months.

I have taken into account all that has been said on your behalf this morning. You have shown genuine remorse and your own mental health has suffered. The Criminal Justice and Social Work Report narrates that you have had your own difficulties, your mother died ten years ago when you were 14. You are assessed as a low risk of reoffending.

I take into account that you were 21 at the time of the offence. You are now aged 24.

In deciding on the court’s disposal, I have had regard to the Scottish Sentencing Council’s guideline on sentencing young people.  The guideline makes it clear that in assessing culpability, I should have regard to the fact that due to immaturity a young person is generally less able to exercise good judgement when making decisions, may be less able to think about what could happen as a result of their actions and may have greater potential to change than an older person.  The culpability of a young person will generally be lower than that of an older person sentenced for the same offence. Rehabilitation is a primary consideration for the Court. The guidelines also make it clear the full range of sentencing options are open to the court but that the nature and duration of a sentence imposed on a young person should be different from that imposed on an older person. The sentence that I am about to impose is intended to follow these guidelines. 

I have also had regard to the Scottish Sentencing Council Guidelines on death by dangerous driving. I agree with the assessment by your counsel that this case falls within category C, which has a suggested sentencing range of 2 to 5 years. Your dangerous driving resulted in fatality. There are aggravating features: that you have a previous conviction for speeding and that you severely injured your passenger. The mitigating features are that you have shown remorse and accepted full responsibility.

In all the circumstances I impose a sentence of 4 years, reduced to 3 years because of the stage you pled guilty. Had you been a more mature adult the sentence would have been longer. The sentence is backdated to 5 June 2024 the date of your remand.

I must also impose a period of disqualification, which is extended to include your time in custody.  You will be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of 8 years. (That is a period of 6 and a half years extended by one and a half years to reflect the time you will spend in prison). You must then pass an extended driving test.  Your licence is endorsed accordingly.