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Sentencing Statements

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HMA v George McDonald

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 26 April, Lord Woolman sentenced George McDonald to eight years’ imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to culpable homicide.

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

“George McDonald, in February you stood trial for the murder of Kevin Holmes. On the fourth day of the trial the Crown accepted your plea of guilty to culpable homicide.

The circumstances of the crime were as follows. During the course of 22 March 2016 you were drinking with Mr Holmes and another man, Brian Watson. Each of you appears to have had an alcohol problem. The drinking took place in a lane off Main Street, Wishaw.

Sometime in the evening you carried out a ferocious attack on Mr Holmes. It involved punching, kicking and stamping. The post-mortem report gives the primary cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.

It is difficult to know what prompted the attack, especially as you claim that Mr Holmes was your friend. Your account of the events on that night differs widely from that of Mr Watson who gave evidence at the trial.

In advance of the trial you lodged a notice of incrimination. You maintained that Mr Watson had committed the crime. The forensic evidence showed, however, that the sole of your footwear corresponded


with a print on the face of the deceased and that his blood was on your clothing.

I have considered the terms of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report. You persist in making accusations against Mr Watson and minimising your role in the event.

I have also listened carefully to what has been said on your behalf. I take into account your difficult upbringing and your long term health problems.

Primarily, however, I have regard to the seriousness of the crime. No sentence I can impose can turn back the clock. By taking another man’s life you have significantly escalated your level of offending. Your criminal record includes convictions for violence.

Exercising what leniency I can, I sentence you to a period of 8 years’ imprisonment, backdated to 22 March 2016."

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