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 Shaun Rimmer
Mar 3, 2022
On sentencing, Lord Boyd made the following statement in Court:
“Simon Musabayana was 48 years old. He was a much loved husband, father and son. He worked hard through adversity to gain qualifications. He applied himself to the public good working for as a mental health nurse at Cornhill Hospital in Aberdeen. He was the family’s main earner and provided not only for his immediate family in this country but his extended family in Zimbabwe. He leaves a wife and three children.
I have read the victim statements. It is hard to overstate the devastating impact his death has had on his family. Not only has he suddenly been taken for them, but they had the agony of watching the efforts made to save him. This included a number of operations and amputation of both his right arm and left leg. Sadly, these efforts failed and Simon Musabayana died 26 days later.
In addressing sentence, I have first to consider its seriousness under reference to the harm you caused and culpability. The harm could not be more serious; you left a man horribly injured – injuries from which he later succumbed.
There is no doubt in my mind that the driving was particularly dangerous.
You failed to stop when required to do so by police officers. You then engaged in a prolonged period of dangerous driving round the streets of Aberdeen, showing total disregard for other road uses. You drove at inappropriate and excessive speeds. You skidded on the road surface. You undertook a vehicle. You failed to stop at red traffic lights.
You hit Mr Musabayana as he was crossing Great Northern Road in a normal manner. It is clear that had you been driving within the speed limit Simon Musabayana would not be dead.
Having struck Mr Musabayana you did not stop. You showed no interest in his safety or welfare. You continued driving at between 50 and 60 miles an hour along St Machar Drive. By this time, as a result of the impact, the windscreen was shattered and you were seen to be driving with your head out the driver’s door window in order to see the road ahead.
No sentence which I can competently pass can compensate for Simon Musabayana’s death.
The maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years. I have no doubt that my starting point is towards the upper end of that scale.
You are 28 years old and unemployed. You have wasted your life in criminality. You have a conviction for kidnapping for which you received a sentence of 57 months imprisonment. In 2015 you were convicted of aggravated burglary and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. You have a whole string of other convictions some of which have resulted in terms of imprisonment.
These include convictions for aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.
You were a disqualified driver at the time. You had no insurance.
I have listened carefully to what your counsel has said in mitigation. I note the point where Mr Musabayana elected to cross the road but it is not suggested in the narrative given to me that he was not keeping a proper lookout or crossing in anything other than a normal manner.
I accept that in the aftermath of the accident you most probably panicked but the proper and moral thing to do was to stop and offer any assistance you could, both to the victim and to the police.
I accept that you are indeed devastated by the impact that the death of Mr Musabayana will have had on the family. Your counsel is no doubt right that your apology will offer little comfort to the family but at least, through your counsel, you have offered an apology.
On charge 1, had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a sentence of 12 years imprisonment. The one good thing that you have done is to offer to plead guilty at the earliest opportunity. The law requires me to recognise the early plea by discounting the headline sentence. Accordingly, I shall discount the sentence to one of 8 years imprisonment.
I shall disqualify you from holding a licence for a period of 10 years with an extension period under section 35C of the RTRA of 4 years.
I shall order that you may not hold or apply for a licence until you have passed the extended driving test. I shall order that your driving record be endorsed with details of your offence.
On charge 2, I shall impose a sentence of 6 months discounted from 9 months, the sentence to run concurrently with the sentence imposed on charge 1.
I shall admonish you on charge 3.
The sentences shall be backdated to 21 September 2021.”
3 March 2022