HMA v JAMES ANTHONY CAMPBELL

At the High Court in Dumbarton Lord Pentland imposed an order for lifelong restriction on James Campbell after he pled guilty to assault.

On sentencing Lord Pentland made the following statement in court:

“James Anthony Campbell, there can be no doubt that the protection of the public requires that an order for lifelong restriction be imposed on you.  The comprehensive risk assessment report confirms that you present a high risk to the public.  I accept that you have had a damaged and disturbed upbringing and background, but that cannot possibly excuse the seriousness of the present offence or the gravity of your record.

You have an appalling record of previous offending dating back to May 2005 when you were just 15 years old.  You have repeatedly offended since then.  In particular, you have previous convictions for offences of dishonesty, contravening the Road Traffic Act, breaching court orders and for disorderly conduct.  Significantly for present purposes, there are also a number of convictions for offences of violence. 

In particular, on 12 July 2006 you were convicted at sheriff and jury level in Hamilton of assault and robbery and sentenced to 18 months detention.  On 4 September 2007 you were convicted at the High Court in Edinburgh of assault and rape;  a sentence of detention for 4 years was imposed.  On 14 November 2008 you were convicted in the sheriff and jury court at Falkirk of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement.  On this occasion an extended sentence was imposed;  this comprised a custodial term of 4 years and an extension period of 4 years.  Finally, on 22 May 2012 at Alloa Sheriff Court you were convicted of assault to injury and imprisoned for 5 months. 

The offence to which you pleaded guilty on the present indictment was yet another violent one, this time involving the repeated use of a weapon on a fellow prisoner.  You have accepted by your guilty plea that the attack was of a murderous nature.

The sentence I intend to impose constitutes a sentence of imprisonment for an indeterminate period. It means that you could only be released from prison in the event that the Parole Board could be satisfied that your release would not endanger public safety. There would have to be particularly strict licence conditions, continuing risk management and close supervision of you.

The law requires me to set a minimum term of imprisonment (referred to as the punishment part of your sentence). This is the minimum period which you must serve before the Parole Board can, in the future, even consider your case.

The Appeal Court has clarified the approach which a judge must take in setting the punishment part of this type of life sentence. I must start by considering what would have been an appropriate determinate sentence for your offence, ignoring the period of confinement necessary for the protection of the public. I must then consider what discount is appropriate to take account of your early plea of guilty.  Then I require to make allowance for the rules on early release.

In the present case, had I been imposing a determinate sentence after trial it would have been an extended sentence, in respect of which the custodial term would have been 12 years and the extension part 6 years. The public protection element would have been met by the extension period imposed for that specific purpose. The starting point for the calculation is, therefore, 12 years.

To reflect your plea of guilty tendered under section 76 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, I would have discounted the sentence to one of 8 years imprisonment. 

I then have to take account of the early release rules. I shall do so by reducing the period of 8 years to 5 years and 4 months.

So the minimum term in your case will be 5 years and 4 months.  I emphasise that this is no more than a minimum and certainly does not signify that you are likely to be released at that stage.

Your life sentence will be backdated to 11 June 2013 when you first appeared in court in connection with the present offence”.