HMA v MARK JOHN JOSEPH FOSTER

At the High Court in Aberdeen Lord Stewart sentenced Mark Foster to nine years imprisonment after he pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Glen John Miller in New Pitsligo, near Fraserburgh.

On sentencing Lord Stewart made the following statement in court:

“Mark John Joseph Foster on the eighth day of your trial for assault and murder you have been convicted on your own plea of the culpable homicide of Glen John Miller by assaulting him by punching, kicking and stamping on his head and body repeatedly to his severe injury whereby he died. Your conviction for this crime must result in a substantial sentence of imprisonment. Because you have previously been sentenced to detention and imprisonment I can impose the sentence without calling for a background report. Your senior counsel submits that it is unnecessary to have a background report. I have heard six full days and one part day of evidence which has informed me of the circumstances of the crime and about your background and mental condition, namely that you have previously been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and depression. I have also heard an agreed narrative today. I accept that it is open to me to sentence you today and that is what I shall do.

In passing sentence I have taken account of the agreed narrative, the evidence, the notice of previous convictions, the plea in mitigation submitted by Mr Findlay QC on your behalf, the victim statements submitted by the late Mr Miller’s partner Eleanor Gavryluk, by Mr Miller’s father Mr Ernest Miller, and by one of his sisters Mrs Kay Stevens who has been in attendance throughout the trial with her husband; and I have had regard to all other relevant circumstances.

Had you been convicted of murder you would have been sentenced to imprisonment for life, subject to a very long period in custody before you could apply to the parole board for release. In respect of your conviction for culpable homicide, exercising such leniency as I can, I shall sentence you to a term of imprisonment of nine years.

My understanding is that your plea to the lesser offence of culpable homicide has not been accepted on the basis of your diminished responsibility, but has been accepted on the basis that you did not intend to take the victim’s life. When you left him he was conscious and an ambulance was on the way. I have discounted your sentence for your plea of guilty in terms of section 196 of the Act, taking account of the stage at which and the circumstances in which the plea was originally offered. Had you not offered to plead guilty and had you not in fact pled guilty I would have imposed a sentence of ten years. In terms of section 210 of the Act I must have regard to the period you have already spent in custody on remand awaiting trial. The sentence of nine years which I have imposed is backdated to 14 January 2013 the date when you originally appeared in court and were first remanded”.