HMA v COLIN JAMES FERGUSON

At the High Court in Glasgow Lord Matthews imposed an extended sentence of ten years and three months on Colin Ferguson after he pled guilty to the attempted murder of Thomas Fisher on 28 March 2013 in Ayr.

On sentencing Lord Matthews made the following statement in court:

“During the course of a trial after evidence had commenced but before anything of much significance had been said you pled guilty to a charge of attempted murder. The effects of what you did have been set out both in the evidence and the victim statements of the complainer Thomas Fisher to which I have had regard.

The trial of your co-accused went ahead and the jury convicted your co-accused of assault under provocation. That indicates that they were satisfied that the complainer was to some extent at least an aggressor and gives credence to the position you set out in evidence and to the social worker and psychiatrist who prepared the reports which I have considered.

I accept that your plea was tendered on the basis that your actions fell into the category of cruel excess and I proceed on that basis.

You have a record for violence, albeit the most serious offences of which you have been convicted were over 20 years ago. I take account of the fact that you are in all likelihood going to lose a leg in the reasonably near future. However, the charge of attempted murder is an extremely serious one and must be met with an appropriate sentence. Even when your leg is amputated it seems to me that you are likely to pose a threat of serious harm to others, although the opportunities for you to indulge in such conduct will be more limited.

In order to protect the public from serious harm from you on your release, therefore, I have decided to pass an extended sentence on you. When you are released from the custodial element you will be subject to a licence with conditions. Breach of any of these or the commission of a further offence during the period of that licence, the extension period of the sentence, may see you back in prison to complete the full term.

Had your case been resolved by the verdict of a jury the custodial element of the sentence, having regard to all the circumstances, including your record and your medical condition, the circumstances of the offence, the contents of the reports and everything said by Mr Alonzi, would have been one of imprisonment for 9 years. There was, however, some utilitarian value in your plea and I shall accordingly restrict the custodial element to imprisonment for 8 years and 3 months to run from 30 March 2013.

The extension period will be one of 2 years, making the total extended sentence one of 10 years and 3 months”.