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Fatal Accident Inquiries

A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) is held following a death in the workplace or in cases which give rise to reasonable suspicion. These are usually held in the sheriff court, but may be held in other premises where appropriate. We publish summaries of some FAIs, particularly in cases where there is wider public interest. The summaries provide details of the case, the main findings of the inquiry and a link to the sheriff's full determination. 

For a full list of all fatal accident inquiry determinations published on the SCTS website click here.

HMA v Mark Nicholson

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 22 May 2019, Lord Arthurson sentenced Mark Nicholson to six years and nine months’ imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to assault to severe injury and to the danger of life.

On sentencing, Lord Arthurson made the following statement in court:

“Mark Nicholson, at the age today of 32, your plea this morning under the present indictment represents your third conviction at indictment level for offending of a seriously violent nature.

“In 2004 at Dunfermline Sheriff Court you were convicted of assault to severe injury and robbery while on bail and received a sentence of 18 months’ detention, and in 2005 at Edinburgh High Court you were convicted of assault to severe injury, permanent impairment and danger of life, again while on bail, and on that occasion received an extended sentence comprising a 54-month custodial part with a 36-month extension period. Your overall criminal record includes 16 groups of previous convictions which include 4 custodial disposals.

“On the occasion of the index offence in the present case, you launched an unprovoked and extremely violent attack which included the infliction of repeated blows to the head and body of your victim with a 4 to 6-inch screwdriver.

“Your victim required hospital admission due to the severity of the injuries which you caused him, which injuries were to the potential danger of his life.

“I have listened with care to the submissions advanced in mitigation on your behalf  by your counsel, and take into account all that I have been advised concerning your background and in particular your family circumstances.  I also take into account the timing of this plea at the stage of a first preliminary hearing.

“The only appropriate disposal must plainly be a custodial one in your case, having regard to the circumstances before the court today and your appalling record of violent offending. 

“I have reached the view that the public require to be protected from the high risk of serious harm through violence which I have no doubt that you represent.

“Accordingly, I now sentence you on charge two on this indictment as follows. You will serve a period of six years and nine months’ imprisonment, discounted from a period of nine years because of the timing of your plea of guilty, which period will be backdated to the date of your initial remand in custody in this matter, namely 30 January 2019.”

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