HMA v THOMAS NOLAN

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Uist imposed an order for lifelong restriction on Thomas Nolan after he pled guilty to assaulting a man to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment and to the danger of his life, and attempting to murder him in Glasgow on 19 October 2012. The punishment part was set at 4 years and 8 months imprisonment.

11 June 2013

On sentencing Lord Uist made the following statement in court:

“You pleaded guilty at a preliminary hearing to assaulting Edward Gallagher in Glasgow on 19 October last year by striking him repeatedly on the body with a knife to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment and to the danger of his life and attempting to murder him. The assault was committed in the course of a drinking session in a house at 10 Millroad Gardens, Calton in Glasgow. He lunged at you with a knife, which you grabbed from him and then used to stab him repeatedly in the stomach. Mr Gallagher suffered a total of five stab wounds, two on the left side of his chest, one just above the navel, one below the left shoulder blade and one on the left side of his back near his spine. He suffered a collapsed lung and at hospital had to be taken to theatre for surgery. It was then discovered that he had injuries to the small bowel, large bowel and bladder. His small bowel had to be removed and injuries to his large bowel and bladder repaired. He developed respiratory failure and had to be admitted to the intensive care unit. He remained on a ventilator until 24 October. He signed himself out of hospital on 14 November but had to be re-admitted for further surgery. I am told that this incident has had a horrific impact on him: he struggles to sit up, can walk only to the toilet, suffers from pain and his voice has been badly affected as a result of the treatment which he received. His life has been very profoundly affected by what you did to him.

You are now 42 years old. You have a criminal record dating from March 1991. You have two serious convictions for violence. On 29 July 2004 you were sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for assault to severe injury and danger of life. On 15 October 2007 you received an extended sentence consisting of a custodial term of 6 years imprisonment and an extension period of 4 years. You were on licence from that sentence when you committed your second attempted murder for which I am now dealing with you. The risk assessor who has prepared a risk assessment report on you has assessed you as being at medium risk of causing serious harm to the public, a conclusion which I find very surprising in the circumstances. Having regard to your two previous High Court convictions for crimes of violence, the circumstances of this crime and the contents of the risk assessment report, I am in no doubt that you are a dangerously violent man and that the risk criteria are met in your case. It is perfectly plain that, if at liberty, you will seriously endanger the lives, or physical or psychological well-being, of members of the public at large. No other conclusion is possible. I shall therefore impose an order for lifelong restriction in respect of you. That order constitutes a sentence of imprisonment for an indeterminate period. I must also fix the punishment part of your sentence, being the period which you must spend in prison before you become entitled to apply for release on licence. I could also order that you return to prison to serve the remainder of your last sentence outstanding as at 19 October 2012, but shall not do so: instead I shall take into account the fact that you were on licence in fixing the punishment part of your sentence. Had you been convicted by a jury after trial, I would have imposed a sentence of 14 years imprisonment, which would have been discounted to 9 years 4 months on account of your guilty plea, thus entitling you to apply for release on licence after having served a period of  4 years 8 months. I therefore fix the punishment part of your sentence at 4 years 8 months. You must not assume that you will be released from prison at the end of that period: you will be released only when the Parole Board for Scotland is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you remain in prison.

The sentence which I have imposed will run from today’s date.”

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