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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.
Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.
HMA v Donovan Reid
May 5, 2020
On sentencing, Judge Cubie made the following statement in Court:
“You were found guilty by the jury of an assault and robbery; the crown did not proceed with the aggravation of permanent disfigurement, largely due to the stoicism of the complainer. The conviction was accordingly for assault to injury, although the photographs showed a gruesome picture of Mr Haig’s bruising in the immediate aftermath. And not all injuries are visible. It is clear from the Victim Impact Statement that Mr Haig has been deeply affected by the assault; having been a sociable and active member of the community, your assault on him has been an impediment to his continuing with his normal lifestyle and activities.
There was apparently a degree of opportunism, in seeing the complainer with his watch and cash on display, but the offence also demonstrated a cynical and mercenary degree of patience and forethought in relation to the execution; it was not impulsive. You and your accomplice, having decided to go to Edinburgh from the west Midlands, bided your time in the public house; left with the complainer; waited until he took a taxi and then ran to your vehicle, before following him by car through the west end of Edinburgh.
You then approached him on foot and assaulted and robbed him. The single blow was brutal and cowardly, coming as did it out of the darkness and from behind a 76 year old man standing on his own doorstep. He had no opportunity to foresee or react; the force of the blow took him off his feet, before you manhandled him to pull the watch off his wrist and take his cash.
Your record is concerning, including one analogous conviction and a previous conviction for a very serious sexual assault – the length of the sentences imposed mean that you have had less than one year out of custody since you were 18; you are plainly someone who is prepared to take what he wants, with force if need be, and irrespective of the consequences to the victim.
You told the social worker that you will not do without, and do anything which will provide you with money to finance your lifestyle. The report reflects a lack of remorse, with the focus being on how you were affected, although I note that your counsel this morning has said you do feel remorse. There is limited evidence of motivation to work towards change. Indeed the report finds you to be a significant risk to the public. You run the risk of effectively serving a life sentence by instalments. That is always regrettable, for you especially given your new responsibilities as a parent and the support from your partner as evidenced by her letter to the Court. But given the offences, your record, your attitude towards the offence and the need to ensure that the public is adequately protected against serious harm from you when you are eventually released, I have a responsibility to impose an appropriate sentence; I propose to pass an extended sentence on you of six years.
The first part of the sentence is an immediate period in custody of four years which will run from the date of your remand on 20 September 2019.
But that is not the end of your sentence. The second part of your sentence will be served in the community. From the date of your release, you will be under licence for an extension period of two years. The conditions of your licence will be fixed by the appropriate authorities. If during this extension period you fail to comply with the conditions of your licence, it may be revoked and you may be returned to custody for a further period in respect of this case. The Court also has power to deal with you if you commit another offence after your release and while you are on licence.”
(5 May 2020)