SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

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.  

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Once charges are spent, any statement in relation to them is removed. Statements published before the launch of the website may be available on request. Please email judicialcomms@scotcourts.gov.uk

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 Patrick Columb

 

Nov 4, 2021

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lady Carmichael sentenced Patrick Columb to life imprisonment after the offender was convicted of murder. The punishment part was set at 15 years.


On sentencing, she made the following statement in Court:

"Patrick Columb, you have pled guilty to the murder of Dean Ritchie, by stabbing him repeatedly. You inflicted a total of 67 wounds in a frenzied attack focused particularly on his head and neck. You were under the influence of substances at the time.

You have a record of convictions which includes assault and robbery involving the use of a knife in 2014, and assault and attempted robbery, again involving the use of a knife, in 2016.  

I have taken into account information from a report detailing the circumstances of your own earlier life. I accept that those circumstances have contributed to your own substance use and history of offending.

In a case of murder, the sentence is one of imprisonment for life. I have to specify a punishment part for that sentence, namely the period you must serve before you can be considered for release. I recognise that no sentence I can impose can ever repair the tragic loss of life in this case, and the enduring pain you have caused to those who were closest to Mr Ritchie.

The starting point for the punishment part of your sentence is 18 years. You have pled guilty at the earliest opportunity. Your plea of guilty has avoided the need for further hearings and for the case to be prepared for and brought to trial. I recognise that it has a genuine utilitarian value by discounting the punishment part of your sentence from 18 years to 15 years. The sentence is backdated to 15 June 2021."

4 November 2021