HMA v PAUL JOHN RYAN

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Pentland imposed an extended sentence on Paul John Ryan with a custodial part of 6 years and a 3 year extension period after he pled guilty to assault and robbery in Glasgow on 19 April 2013.

01 October 2013

On sentencing Lord Pentland made the following statement in court:

“Paul John Ryan, you have pled guilty to a serious offence of assault and robbery committed at the premises of a bookmaker’s shop in Glasgow on 19 April 2013.  The agreed narrative records that on this occasion you pushed open a security door and presented a toy plastic pistol in a polythene bag at the lady working in the shop.  It is obvious that as far as she could tell, the weapon might well have been a real firearm.  She was alone at the time. You succeeded in robbing the shop of more than £2,200 in cash, none of which has been recovered. Behind this offence there lay a significant measure of planning and premeditation.

The robbery has had a lasting effect on the shop worker, who was truly terrified by your conduct. She is now too frightened to work alone and is having to receive counselling.

Whatever the position may be as to your reason for committing the present offence, it cannot in any way excuse your decision to arm yourself with a weapon and terrorise the shop worker in the way that you did.

You have a particularly bad record of previous offending.  It includes a conviction for assault and robbery in the High Court for which you were sentenced to 6 years imprisonment in 2001. You have a number of other convictions for offences of violence, disorderly conduct, possession of an offensive weapon, dishonesty and breaching court orders. On two previous occasions you have been convicted at Sheriff and Jury level. I acknowledge that in recent years the gravity of your offending has somewhat diminished, but you have nonetheless continued to offend to a significant degree and it is relevant to note that you committed some offences whilst on licence in respect of your High Court conviction. None of the many sentences imposed on you thus far has had the effect of deterring you from further offending.

I note that you are assessed as presenting a high risk of causing further harm, particularly in view of your repeated offending.  It appears to me that there is ample justification for this assessment.

In the whole circumstances, protection of the public must, in my view, be a major consideration in determining what sentence to impose on you.

I have taken fully into account all that has been said in mitigation and of the entire contents of the social work report. I note that you have now expressed remorse and regret for what you did.

On charge 2 (assault and robbery), I am in no doubt that the court must take an extremely serious view of your conduct.  It is part of the responsibilities of the court to make it clear to those who might be minded to commit robberies of this nature that shop workers must be protected against persons like you who have no respect for the law or for other people. The perpetrators of crimes of this nature must expect to receive heavy custodial sentences especially where they are repeat offenders. 

Having regard to the nature of the present offence set against the background of your record and to the level of risk you continue to present, I am entirely satisfied that an extended sentence is required in order to protect the public.  Had you not pleaded guilty, I would have made the custodial part of the extended sentence 8 years. I accept that your guilty plea has had utilitarian value in that the need for a trial has been avoided and witnesses have not had to come to court to testify. In the exercise of the discretion vested in me and in line with standard practice, I will discount the duration of the custodial part to 6 years.

The extension part of the sentence, during which you will be subject to close monitoring and supervision, will be 3 years.

If you fail to comply with any of the conditions of your release licence during the extension period, you are liable to be returned to prison.

The sentence will be backdated to 23 April 2013.”