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HMA V Lukasz Czapla


May 4, 2022

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Beckett sentenced Lukasz Czapla to life imprisonment after the offender was found guilty of murdering his son.

The punishment part was set at 23 years. This is the minimum period of time the offender must serve in prison before even being considered for parole. After that, it will be for the Parole Board to determine if or when it is safe for him to be released from prison.

On sentencing, Lord Beckett made the following statement in Court:

“Lukasz Czapla, you have been found guilty of murdering your two year old son. For murder, the punishment is fixed by law. You will be sentenced to life imprisonment.

At 41 years old, you have no significant previous convictions. You have a history of employment.

I take account of these factors, and everything said in mitigation which is inevitably limited in this case, in fixing the punishment part of your life sentence which is the period of time you will serve in prison before being considered for parole. In fixing it, I must reflect the need to punish you for the crime of murder and to deter you and others from committing it. The law requires me to ignore any risk that you may pose to the public in the future. This does not mean that you will serve just this period. It will be for the Parole Board to determine when it is safe for you to be released from prison. The question of parole cannot arise before the punishment part has passed.

I must also take account of the seriousness of the crime of murder of which you have been convicted, combined with any other offence on the indictment.

Charge 3 is a serious example of dangerous driving, particularly when account is taken of your exceeding the alcohol limit as reflected in charge 2.

Charge 5, relating to your possession of an air pistol without the appropriate certificate is another offence of some significance in this case.

Charges 6, 7 and 8 involved your possession of three different class A drugs; psilocin better known as magic mushrooms, LSD and ecstasy.

As a result of your actions, your son will never grow up and his loving mother has lost him forever and can only be haunted by the knowledge of the truly evil things you did which I will not repeat.

Suffice it to say that you showed considerable determination to ensure that a defenceless child would die, causing him considerable distress. It is no excuse that you were full of drink and drugs, indeed it is significantly aggravating when you were trusted to look after a two year old. You acted out of spite, killing your own child to punish his mother for leaving you and getting on with her life. The Court must do all it can to deter such cruelty being inflicted on an infant.

Having regard to the whole circumstances, the punishment part on the charge of murder will be one of 23 years, backdated to 23 November 2020.

This does not mean that this is a sentence of 23 years. You are sentenced to life imprisonment and you will serve at least 23 years before you can be considered for release on parole. It will be for the Parole Board to determine when you will ultimately be released and they will consider the safety of the public in reaching that decision.

On the remaining charges I will impose concurrent sentences, which means they will not make the punishment part longer. On charge 2 you will go to prison for 3 months, reduced from 4 months for your guilty plea. Your licence is endorsed and you are disqualified from driving for 1 year but extended to 13 and a half months. On charge 3 you will go to prison for 14 months, reduced from 18 months and disqualified for three years, but extended to 43 months, and until you have passed the extended driving test and your licence is endorsed. On charge 4, you will go to prison for 3 months, reduced from 4 months, disqualified from driving for 9 months reduced from 12 months but extended to 10 and a half months and your licence is endorsed. On charge 5 you will go to prison for 9 months reduced from 12 months. On charges 6, 7 and 8 there is one sentence, you will go to prison for 9 months reduced from 12 months. All of these sentences are backdated to 23 November 2020.On both charges 9 and 10 you are admonished.

On charge 1, I direct the clerk of court, at the appropriate time, to refer details of the conviction to the Scottish Ministers so that they can determine if your name is to be included in the list of persons unsuitable to work with children.”

4 May 2022