HMA v OWEN GEORGE BONNER

On 15 May at the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Doherty sentenced Owen George Bonner to 2 years and 8 months detention after he pled guilty to assaulting Albert Joseph Massie to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment and to the danger of his life. He also imposed a post release supervision order.

15 May 2013

On sentencing Lord Doherty made the following statement in court:

 “You have pled guilty to assaulting Albert Massie to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment and to the danger of his life. You punched Mr Massie to the head knocking him to the ground. When he was on the ground you repeatedly kicked then repeatedly stamped on his head. The attack was only brought to an end when a friend grabbed hold of you and took you away. 

As a result of the assault Mr Massie collapsed after he had been put out of the house where the assault took place. He was bleeding heavily from a wound to the rear of his head and his left eye was swollen and covered in blood. He was admitted to hospital. He was found to have suffered a fractured left eye socket and bleeding on the brain. He had a blood clot between his brain and skull which required major surgery, a right sided craniotomy, to remove it. He will have permanent post-operative scarring. He suffered a fracture to the cervical spine which required conservative treatment. Mr Massie initially lost the sight of his left eye. It became painful and shrunken leading to surgery being scheduled for its removal.

I have listened to all that has been said on your behalf.  You are 17 years of age and have never had a custodial sentence. I have given careful consideration to the question whether there is any appropriate method of dealing with you other than detention.  I have concluded that there is not and that the circumstances and gravity of the offence make detention the only appropriate disposal. This was a sustained and ferocious attack which endangered the life of your victim. But for the intervention of your friend the consequences might have been even graver. As it is, Mr Massie suffered severe injuries and has lost the sight of an eye. I do not regard as mitigatory the fact that the motivation for the attack was your belief that Mr Massie had robbed your father some weeks previously. Even if you were correct in your belief it could not justify or mitigate the carrying out a revenge attack, or taking the law into your own hands.

I intend to sentence you to a period of detention for the offence of which you have been convicted.

In addition to the sentence I am about to impose, and having considered the social work report in this case, I consider it necessary to protect the public from serious harm from you on your release from custody. Accordingly I intend to impose a supervised release order on you. 

The effect of that order is that you will be placed under the supervision of a supervising officer for a period of 12 months following your release and you will (i) report to him as he requires, (ii) notify him without delay of any change of address, and (iii) comply with any reasonable requirement which he makes to secure your good conduct and to prevent or lessen the possibility of your committing a further offence.

I wish to make it plain to you that if you fail to comply with the requirements of the supervised release order you are liable to be brought back before this court and returned to detention for a period equal to the time which the order has to run after the date of your failure to comply with its terms. 

Do you understand what I have said?  [Mr Bryant answered in the affirmative].

Very well then, Exercising such leniency as I feel able to in view of your age and insubstantial record the sentence which I would have imposed had you not pled guilty would have been 3 years and 364 days detention with a supervised release order for a period of 12 months following your release. Having regard to your early plea the sentence which I impose is one of 2 years 8 months detention backdated to 17 January 2013 together with a supervised release order in the terms I have indicated for a period of 12 months following your release.”

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