HMA v MICHAEL HANDLEY

At the High Court in Glasgow Lord Stewart sentenced Michael Handley to six years imprisonment for the assault of Robert Anderson to his injury and to the danger of his life on 22 August 2012 on the A702 road at Dalveen Pass.

On sentencing Lord Stewart made the following statement in court:

“Michael Handley, on 18 March 2013 in the High Court at Dumbarton you were convicted after trial of assaulting Robert Anderson to his injury and to the danger of his life by driving your Landrover Discovery repeatedly into the rear of the Renault Clio driven by Robert Anderson causing the Renault Clio to got out of control and to leave the A702 road at Dalveen Pass. On the evidence the vehicles were travelling at about 60 mph. The assault happened on 22 August 2012. The jury had the option of convicting you of dangerous driving contrary to the Road Traffic Act 1988 section 2 for which there is a relatively low statutory maximum penalty. It must be presumed that the jury reached the view that your actions were something more than below-standard driving and amounted to a deliberate assault. However the jury also took the view that you did not intend to kill Mr Anderson because they deleted the attempted murder part of the charge. The offence was committed while you were on bail.

There is apparently some background here. It emerged in evidence that Robert Anderson believes you to be responsible for a life threatening assault on him with an iron bar in 2009 although it is fair to say, on the evidence, that the prosecution was dropped before coming in to court. After that event it appears that Robert Anderson was warned by the police not to attack you.

The notice of previous convictions which was tendered by the Crown on 18 March shows that you had accrued a number of convictions including some minor road traffic convictions in your late teens. You do have a dangerous driving conviction dating from 1993 which the Crown has asked me to treat as analogous. I intend to do so only to the extent that that it shows you to have a history some time ago of taking risks with motor vehicles.   I adjourned the matter on 18 March to obtain a Criminal Justice Social Work Report which is now to hand. The report is relatively positive, indeed positive about your pro-social personal and social circumstances. You have four children aged from eight to fourteen years old. They live with you and your current partner. You live in a privately owned house which you built yourself. You are said to have a strong work ethic and have apparently been employed in your father’s car sales and garage business, Lochthorn Motors, Dumfries. On the other hand the senior social worker who wrote the report describes your actions on 22 August last year as “an unrelenting and deliberate targeting of an individual with complete disregard for the very serious harm it could have caused the victim, other road users… ”. That is not an unfair description on the evidence I heard.

I note that you have been in custody on remand since 24 August 2012.

Having regard to all the circumstances brought to my attention including the two references produced today and exercising such leniency as I can I shall sentence you to a period of six years imprisonment, six months of which is attributable to the bail offence. For the purposes of section 210 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 the sentence will be backdated to the date when you were first remanded namely 24 August 2012. In terms of section 248 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 I shall disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of six years from today’s date and order your licence to be endorsed.”

Sentence passed 15 April 2013