HMA v PETER RONALD GARLAND

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Pentland sentenced Peter Garland to four years in prison after he pled guilty to assault and robbery at a shop in Aberdeen.

On sentencing Lord Pentland made the following statement in court:

“Peter Ronald Garland, you pled guilty to an indictment served under the expedited procedure allowed for under section 76 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.  The indictment contained a single charge of assault and robbery on a shopkeeper in Aberdeen, in the course of which you repeatedly presented and brandished a knife at him. This was a terrifying ordeal for the victim, who was fearful and alarmed by your irresponsible and cowardly conduct. 

Although you have only just attained the age of 21 years, I note that you have accumulated a bad record of previous offending.  This includes a conviction at Sheriff and Jury level for assault to severe injury, for which you were sentenced to 26 months detention.  You also have a range of previous convictions at summary level for offences of disorder, dishonesty, breaching orders of the court and road traffic matters.  For some of these, custodial sentences have been imposed on you.  For others community-based penalties have been attempted, but your record of compliance with these is poor and they have not served to deter you from further offending.

It is of particular concern that at the time of committing the present offence you were on licence, having been released from custody just three days earlier.  It is very troubling also that at the time of carrying out the present offence you were under the influence of alcohol and drugs.  That is, in my view, a seriously aggravating feature.

I have taken account of all the information about your background and upbringing set out in the comprehensive social work report. I have also listened carefully to all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation. Whilst you have apparently had a disturbed and unhappy childhood, this cannot in any way excuse your conduct in carrying out the present offence.  It is part of the responsibilities of the courts to try to ensure that shopkeepers are protected against persons, like you, who are disposed to resort to violence for personal gain.  Those who choose to commit armed robberies in shops or similar premises must understand that they are liable to be severely punished when brought to justice. 

Had you not pled guilty, I would have sentenced you to 6 years imprisonment for the present offence.  I accept that your early plea of guilty had certain practical advantages in that a full prosecution and trial were not required and witnesses did not need to come to court to testify in person.  In the exercise of the discretion vested in me, I shall discount your sentence to one of 4 years imprisonment.

Your sentence will be backdated to 22 July 2013”.

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