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.  

Follow us if you wish to receive alerts as soon as statements are published. 

Once charges are spent, any statement in relation to them is removed and cannot be provided or acknowledged. Statements published before the launch of the website may be available on request. Please email

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 Ciaran Dickson


Feb 16, 2024

At the High court in Glasgow, Lord Colbeck sentenced Ciaran Dickson to 6 years in prison for causing the death of Aidan Pilkington by dangerous driving whilst under the influence of alcohol. Dickson has also been banned from driving for 9 years and will be required to sit an extended driving test.

On sentencing, Lord Colbeck told Dickson:

“Ciaran Dickson, on 19 January 2024 you pled guilty (by way a section 76 indictment) to a charge of causing the death of Aidan Pilkington by your dangerous driving.

The circumstances of the offence and the tragic consequences were narrated to the court in detail when the case last called. On the evening of 10 September 2021, you started drinking alcohol in a restaurant at Loch Lomond; before driving to and drinking more alcohol at a pool club in St George’s Cross in Glasgow; and then driving to and drinking more alcohol at a pub in Summerston.

Over the course of that evening, you drank so much alcohol that your blood alcohol concentration at the time of the collision is estimated to have been approximately 183 milligrams per 100 millilitres. That is almost four times the legal limit of 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres

Shortly after midnight you were travelling south on Crow Road in Glasgow. You were travelling at speeds calculated to be between 64.87 mph and 71.07 mph. More than twice the speed limit there of 30 mph.

Highly impaired by your consumption alcohol and travelling at speeds significantly in excess of the speed limit your car collided with Aidan Pilkington who was a pedestrian, crossing the road. Despite the efforts of passers-by and ambulance staff, Mr Pilkington succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival at hospital.

Following the collision you did not stop. You did not attempt to assist or seek assistance for Mr Pilkington. Instead, you drove away, at speed, abandoning your car in Dorchester Avenue, some distance from the scene.

As a consequence of police enquiries to trace you, you attended at London Road police office with your solicitor two days after the accident, on 13 September 2021. As they are entitled to do, the police required you to give information as to the identity of the driver of your car. The law requires you to provide that information. You were told that twice, but chose to make no comment.

You were subsequently released without charge, pending further enquiry. After extensive police investigations, you were interviewed under caution on 11 February 2022. The police again required you to give information as to the identity of the driver of your car. Again, you chose to make no comment.

You are 21 years of age. You have convictions for two non-analogous matters, which post-date this offence, and a non-court disposal for careless driving from December 2020. I have regard to all that is said in the CJSWR and to all that has been said on your behalf by Mr Ross KC.

As was recognised by your senior counsel when the case last called, nothing said by you or on your behalf can offer comfort to Aidan Pilkington's family and friends.

Nothing I can say or do and no sentence any court could pass can compensate for Mr Pilkington’s death. In particular, when you have served the sentence I will impose you will be able to return to your family and move on with your life, while the appalling loss suffered by the Pilkington family and Aidan’s friends will endure.

That extent of that loss is evident from the measured and dignified victim impact statements provided to the court, which speak eloquently and movingly of Aidan who was clearly was a much-loved son, grandson and brother. 

The gravity of the crime you have committed is such that there is no suitable alternative to a prison sentence. That is necessary to punish you, to seek to deter you and others from driving in such a dangerous manner and to protect the public from you.

The first step in sentencing is an assessment of the nature and seriousness of the offence. Two things determine the seriousness of an offence: the culpability of the offender and the harm caused, or which might have been caused, by the offence.

For the offence to which you have pled guilty, the law has fixed the level of harm, which is that death has been caused. The seriousness of the offence is, therefore, largely determined by your level of culpability.

I recognise that you did not intend to cause harm, however, the quantity of alcohol you consumed and the speed at which you were travelling are each redolent of someone who was utterly reckless as to whether harm was caused.

The risks inherent in driving at speed whilst highly impaired by the consumption of alcohol are self-evident. You either knew, or should have known, of the risks that might arise from your actions. I have regard also to your age, as I am required to do.

The sentencing guideline in respect of “Statutory offences of causing death by driving” sets out a number of features relevant to the assessment of seriousness.

In your case, you were grossly impaired through the voluntary consumption of alcohol (a Level A feature) and drove at grossly excessive speed for the road (a Level B feature). Taken together, your offence is one that is properly regarded as a Level A offence in terms of its seriousness.

That assessment provides, again by way of the death by driving guideline, a sentencing range of 7 – 12 years custody.

I then require considering the aggravating and mitigating factors present in this case.

In terms of aggravating factors, there is the non-court disposal for careless driving; failing to stop and leaving the scene of the accident; and the fact that Mr Pilkington, as a pedestrian, was a vulnerable road user. In addition, I have regard to your repeated failure to disclose that you were the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident.

In terms of mitigating factors, I accept that there is considerable remorse on your part.

I recognise that as a young person you are likely to have a lower level of maturity, and a greater capacity for change and rehabilitation, than an older person.

Your behaviour on the evening of 10 / 11 September 2021 is highly suggestive of a lack of maturity and of someone who is less able to exercise good judgement when making decisions; is less able to think about what could happen as a result of their actions; and who takes more risks.

That the duration of a sentence imposed on a young person should be different from that which might be imposed on an older person being sentenced for the same, or a similar, offence is to recognise factors such as these.

But for your plea of guilty, I would have sentenced you to 8 years imprisonment. The law requires me to allow you credit for that guilty plea. Having regard to the timing of your plea, you will go to prison for a period of 6 years. That sentence will run from 19 January 2024 when you were first remanded in custody.


In addition, your licence will be endorsed and you will be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of 9 years and until you have passed the extended driving test.

For the avoidance of any doubt, the 9-year disqualification comprises a period of 6 years that I impose in relation to the offence, and a further 3 years by way of the extension period, which I am required to add in terms of section 35C of the 1988 Act.”

16 February 2024