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HMA v Taylor Hanlon
Sep 14, 2022
On sentencing, Sheriff Crowe said:
"You are still largely in denial about the jury's unanimous finding of guilt in respect of the majority of charge 1, a contravention of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 section 1involving abusive and controlling behaviour towards your then partner over a 10 month period in 2020.
You were convicted of charge 2 by a majority verdict and pled guilty to the third charge at the start of the trial. These latter charges each involve breaching bail conditions.
Apart from the cross examination of the complainer very few of the other witnesses were cross examined on matters of any substance.
The complainer, Ms Kilkenny, like her parents and her best friend Ms McLean and indeed all of the civilian witnesses, had good work records, presented well and provided a case against you for which there was no coherent response.
The complainer was very frank in her evidence that she fell deeply in love with you and when she found you were addicted to drugs she stayed with you in the hope that she might wean you off cocaine, Valium and cannabis yet, eventually she succumbed to these substances and was in a state of collapse when taken to hospital in July 2020 after one of your outbursts.
Such was the hold you had over her, the relationship continued until December 2020.
You have a previous conviction for domestic abuse involving an earlier partner.
While the background report offers a community disposal it is a lukewarm recommendation given your attitude which suggests that others are to blame.
You are assessed as having a high level of risk.
Having heard all of the evidence in the case it is quite clear that you nearly ruined Ms Kilkenny's life but fortunately she has friends and family and a responsible job which she has resumed to good effect. As she said herself at some stages when she was under attack from you she tried to fight back but being a much smaller and weaker person all you sustained was a small nick which drew blood and a suspected broken nose; these injuries do not compare with being hit on the head with an ashtray thrown across the room and forcing Ms Kilkenny's head through and smashing a glass table top.
Ultimately your lawyer, who conducted your case with great skill, had to concede that you were guilty of some crime or crimes in respect of charge one.
I doubt if there is time or much point trying to operate a community order when you appear to deny the basic ethos that you were at fault to a serious criminal standard.
In my view there is no other method of dealing with your case other than by way of a custodial sentence.
You were around the age of 25 when the most serious aspects of charge 1 were committed, so you do not have the benefit of special consideration for being a young person as set out in recent Scottish Sentencing Council Guidelines.
Accordingly on charge 1 I sentence you to 12 months' imprisonment from today.
In respect of charge 2, while it was your responsibility to keep the bail conditions, it is clear the complainer still wished to see you and came voluntarily to your home and saw you. Accordingly I admonish you for that offence. Police evidence which were heard was that Ms Kilkenny was quite content to be there with you at that time.
So far as charge 3 is concerned, it occurred in 2021 when you were the subject of 3 bail orders. You again breached these orders but I do take into account that you admitted this charge at the start of the trial. You tried to make contact with Ms Kilkenny again but also contacted her place of work and her brother. Most of the messages were about wishing to resume the relationship with the complainer but you left an abusive message about her with her employers.
Given the nature of my sentence on charge 1, I would have imposed a sentence of 6 months' imprisonment but will restrict this, in view of your guilty plea to 5 months' imprisonment, to be served consecutively.
I have to say that the significance in the timing of this offence was overlooked by the compiler of the background report.
In addition I will make a non-harassment order for a period of 15 years preventing you from approaching or contacting in anyway Ms Jemma Kilkenny."