HMA v ROBERT WEMYSS & MARTIN SMART

At the High Court in Dumbarton Lord Stewart sentenced Martin Smart and Robert Wemyss in connection with the attempted murder of three police officers in Aberdeen in July 2012. Robert Wemyss was given an extended sentence of 15 years, and Martin Smart was sentenced to one year imprisonment.

On sentencing Lord Stewart made the following statement in court:

“Both of you, Robert Wemyss and Martin Smart, have been convicted of charge three on the indictment, as previously amended, namely a charge of stealing a motor vehicle registration number SP55 NYO, which the evidence showed to be a BMW X5, from an address at Concraig Park, Aberdeen on the night of 9 to 10 July 2012.

You Robert Wemyss have also been convicted in terms of charge six, as previously amended, of driving the stolen BMW X5 dangerously contrary to section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 at various places in Aberdeen during the day following the theft. Among other things you collided with a public service bus and with two police cars causing damage to all vehicles including the BMW and minor injury to one of the police drivers.

You Robert Wemyss have further been convicted in terms of charge seven of assaulting and attempting to murder the three police officers who were travelling in the other police car by repeatedly attempting to collide the stolen BMW with it, by colliding with it, by causing the three police officers to abandon the car and driving at speed towards them when they did so. The jury also found that you had previously shown ill will towards police officers in general.

Robert Wemyss, the public expectation would clearly be that sentences of imprisonment should be imposed in your case. According to the notice of previous convictions, you have two previous convictions for theft of motor vehicles, and six convictions for attempted theft of or theft from motor vehicles, four previous convictions for dangerous driving and two convictions for assault. Custodial sentences have been imposed on you on eleven occasions according to the notice. Since the conviction in the present case you have been convicted of other offences in Aberdeen Sheriff Court. That happened on 18 and 21 February 2013 and you were sentenced to six months imprisonment on the first occasion and on the second occasion, in respect of convictions for two motoring offences, to one year imprisonment to run from 21 February 2013 and banned from driving for life.

Returning to the present case I am persuaded by Mr Renucci to treat the three charges of which you have been convicted on this occasion as part of the same course of conduct and to make the sentences concurrent. The statutory maximum for the dangerous driving offence is two years. Having heard the evidence and in light of Mr Renucci’s plea I am disposed to accept that the intention behind your driving when you attempted to murder the police officers was towards the murderously reckless rather than the deliberately murderous end of the range. I have also had regard to the fact that you were remanded in custody in respect of the present offences on 11 July 2012 though part of the remand period has coincided with your imprisonment following the recent convictions. I note what Mr Renucci says about the balance between a punitive period in custody and a period under supervision to protect the public. The custodial sentence will include an extension so that you are under supervision on release because of the risk identified in the social work report.

Martin Smart, I believe a short sentence of detention is called for in your case. You have not previously had a custodial sentence: but you have one analogous previous conviction for theft of a motor vehicle and at the time the theft of the BMW was committed you were already subject to a community payback order with a substantial unpaid work requirement. There were questions about your commitment although it is reported that you were found not guilty of actually breaching the order. I have taken account of what Mr Borthwick has said about the range of sentences that would have been available had this matter been tried summarily as a stand-alone offence.

Robert Campbell Wemyss I sentence you to be imprisoned for a period of two years in respect of charge three (three months of which is attributable to the bail aggravation); to be imprisoned for a period of eighteen months in respect of charge six (three months of which is attributable to the bail aggravation) and I disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of ten years and thereafter until you have sat and passed the extended test of competence to drive and I order endorsement of your driving licence accordingly; and to be imprisoned, in terms of section 210A of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, for a period of fifteen years comprising a custodial term of ten years (six months of which is attributable to the bail aggravation) and an extension period of five years in respect of charge seven; the periods of imprisonment imposed on charges three, six and seven are to run concurrently with each other but to run consecutively to the total period of imprisonment to which you are already subject by virtue of the recent convictions in Aberdeen Sheriff Court. Because other sentences have intervened I judge it inappropriate to backdate your sentence but as stated I have had regard to the period you have spent on remand as I am bound to do by section 210 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.

Martin Smart, I sentence you to be detained for a period of one year in respect of charge three (three months of which sentence is attributable to the bail aggravation). In terms of section 210 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 I have had regard to the short period of one week for which you were remanded before being bailed to await trial and the period for which you have been remanded pending sentence. Your sentence of detention will be backdated to 31 January 2013, the date when you were remanded following the trial”.

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