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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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 Patrick Columb
Nov 4, 2021
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