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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.
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HMA v Connor McMath
Sep 18, 2021
The punishment part was set at 15 years. This is the period that must pass before the offender can apply for parole which may or may not be given.
On sentencing Lord Matthews made the following statement in Court:
“You were found guilty of the murder of a 15 year old boy Sean Ford by striking him on the neck with a pair of scissors, causing him fatal injuries, at a time when you were yourself only 20 years of age.
This one act of impulsive violence has ruined at least two lives. Both you and Sean Ford had everything before you but now he is gone thanks to you and your future is bleak.
I say at least two lives because Sean Ford’s family and friends will never be free of the grief caused by this needless crime and no sentence I can impose can go any way towards relieving that.
Your own family and friends will also doubtless have their own emotional reactions to your actions but at least they know that one way or another you are still with them.
I need not go into the circumstances, which were brought out in evidence. It is enough to say that this kind of thing is sadly all too often the result when young people go to parties and indulge in drink and drugs, resulting in stupid arguments and violence, which in this case was sadly fatal. The circumstances are even more incomprehensible than usual because there was really no need for you to get involved at all. Having said all that, this is not a case where it is clear you used a weapon which you had been carrying about with you. There is some evidence that you took the scissors out of your pockets but other evidence that they were to hand in the room, though that of itself can be no consolation to Mr Ford’s family. The scissors proved to be just as deadly as any knife. I proceed on the basis that you did not bring them with you.
I have listened to all that Mr Findlay has said on your behalf. I also take account of the contents of the social work report, which clearly sets out your personal circumstances and background.
As you know, the only sentence I can pass is one of imprisonment for life. I also have to fix a period which must pass before you can apply for parole. It is called the punishment part of the sentence. When and if you are released after that period expires will be for others to decide but even after release you will be subject to a licence. It will have conditions attached for the rest of your life and you will be liable to recall to prison for any breach of them. How you progress in life with be very much in your hands.
In fixing the punishment part it is important that I also take account of your age and the prospects of rehabilitation but you know perfectly well that you were responsible for the death of a child and that must be met with significant punishment.
You have a short record including one conviction for violence but it pales into insignificance when compared to this offence.
In the circumstances I sentence you to imprisonment for life to run from 9 March 2020 and I fix the punishment part at 15 years.”
17 September 2021