HMA v SCOTT ALEXANDER GARTSHORE & JASON SCOTT KING

At the High Court in Glasgow Lord Doherty sentenced Scott Gartshore to 7 years imprisonment after he pled guilty to assault and robbery in Aberdeen in January 2013 and was also found to be in contempt of court. Jason King was sentenced to 7 years 9 months detention and was ordered to return to detention to serve the unexpired portion of 9 months and 18 days of a previous sentence.

On sentencing Lord Doherty made the following statement in court:

“Scott Alexander Gartshore, you have pled guilty to two very serious offences of assault and robbery at shops in Aberdeen. On each occasion you and your two accomplices disguised your identities, armed yourselves with knives, assaulted the employees within the shops, threatened them with knives, and robbed them of money and goods. On the first occasion you robbed them of £1,695, and some alcohol and cigarettes; on the second occasion you robbed them of £7,500 and some alcohol. These were terrifying incidents for the shop employees involved. You were the subject of a bail order at the time of the offences.

After having pled guilty to these offences you were called as a witness at the trial of your co-accused. You refused to answer questions directed towards identifying the persons with whom you committed the crimes. You were warned on more than one occasion about the likely consequences of refusing to answer questions. Ultimately, you refused to answer all questions.

I have regard to all that has been said on your behalf. You have a significant number of previous convictions, but all have been at summary level and none has resulted in a custodial sentence. The most analogous offence is your conviction on 19 February 2008 for assault to injury with intent to rob. You were sentenced to 18 months probation for that offence.

I give you credit for pleading guilty and for the utilitarian benefits of your plea. I hope that you take advantage of the opportunities that are provided to you in prison to prepare yourself for your release.

However, I would be failing in my public duty if I did not impose a lengthy custodial sentence for the two assault and robberies.

Had I been looking at your conviction on charge 4 in isolation my starting point for that offence would have been 5 years imprisonment, 3 months of which would have been attributable to the bail aggravation. Had I been looking at your conviction on charge 5 in isolation my starting point for it would have been 6 years imprisonment, 3 months of which would have been attributable to the bail aggravation.  Making those sentences consecutive would result in an aggregate sentence which is excessive. On the other hand, making the sentences concurrent would result in the crimes being insufficiently punished. A cumulo sentence is appropriate in relation to these two offences. My starting point would have been 8 years imprisonment, of which 4 months was attributable to the bail aggravations. In view of your plea the sentence which I in fact impose in respect of charges 4 and 5 is 6 years  imprisonment, 3 months of which is attributable to the bail aggravation. That sentence will be backdated to 28 January 2013.

I turn then to the contempt of court. Your refusal to answer questions was a flagrant contempt of court.  I have listened to all that has been said on your behalf in relation to this. I have no doubt that you did indeed fear that adverse consequences might be visited upon you if you gave evidence identifying your accomplices.  I also take account of the fact that you answered questions related to your own involvement in the robberies. Your refusal was a refusal to assist the Crown in identifying the accomplices, or to answer any questions you perceived to assist the Crown’s case against your co-accused. I have come to the view that it would not be just in the circumstances to impose the maximum sentence for contempt of court of 2 years imprisonment in your case. The sentence which I impose is imprisonment for 1 year. That sentence will be consecutive to the sentence imposed on charges 4 and 5.

Jason Scott King, you have been convicted after trial of a minor charge of theft, and of two very serious offences of assault and robbery at shops in Aberdeen. I have already described the circumstances of those offences.

You have a large number of previous convictions, several of which were for crimes of violence. Your two most recent convictions were on indictment. On 18 August 2011 at Aberdeen Sheriff Court you were convicted of assault and robbery. On 8 September 2011 at the same court you were convicted of assault. On 29 September 2011 you were sentenced to 16 months detention for the assault and robbery and 12 months detention for the assault, those sentences to be consecutive, together with a supervised release order for a period of 12 months. At the time of the current offences you were on licence, your licence expiry date being 21 October 2013. The unexpired portion of your sentence as at 3 January 2013 was 9 months and 18 days.

Charge 1 is a minor offence. I will simply admonish you on that charge.

In relation to the unexpired portion of your previous sentences I shall make an order in terms of s. 16 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 that you return to detention to serve the whole of the unexpired portion, 9 months and 18 days. That sentence will run from today’s date.  It will be served before, and be followed by, the sentence which I am about to impose in respect of charges 4 and 5.

I have regard to what has been said on your behalf. Like Miss Connor, I earnestly hope that you will take all the opportunities which you may have in custody to prepare for a better future. You are a young man and there is time to change.  However I would be failing in my public duty if I did not impose a lengthy custodial sentence for the two assault and robberies.

My starting points for you in relation to these offences are higher than my starting points for Mr Gartshore because your record is worse than his. Had it not been for your relatively young age I would have selected higher starting points than the ones I shall use. Had I been looking at your conviction on charge 4 in isolation my starting point for that offence would have been 5 years 6 months detention. Had I been looking at your conviction on charge 5 in isolation my starting point for it would have been 6 years 6 months detention. Making those sentences consecutive would result in an aggregate sentence which was excessive. On the other hand, making the sentences concurrent would result in the crimes being insufficiently punished. A cumulo sentence is appropriate in relation to these two offences. The cumulo sentence which I would have imposed had it not been for the fact that you had already spent just over 8 months on remand in relation to these charges would have been 8 years 9 months detention. Making allowance for that remand period the sentence which I impose is 7 years 9 months detention. As I have said, that sentence will begin to run after the s.16 order sentence has been served”.