HMA v JAMES BROWN

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Stewart sentenced James Brown to 8 years imprisonment after he was convicted of the assault of Samuel Joseph Smith on 6 July 2013.

On sentencing Lord Stewart made the following statement in court:

“JAMES BROWN on 11 December 2013 in the High Court at Edinburgh you were convicted after trial by a majority verdict of the jury of the aggravated assault of Samuel Joseph Smith at Broomknowes Road, Glasgow, on 6 July 2013. The charge of which you were convicted alleged that the crime was committed by you acting with others. On the evidence three or four persons were implicated. The evidence was to the effect that you drove your Toyota Landcruiser registration number R374 FSG at the victim when he was standing on the pavement and knocked him down. The vehicle then returned and you and your accomplices got out of the vehicle and started striking the victim on the head and body with lengths of wood and knives or similar implements and jumping on him all to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and the danger of his life.

The victim was admitted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary as an emergency for treatment of multiple injuries and blood loss. The most serious injury was a slashing-type wound apparently caused by a knife or similar running almost straight down the face from the hairline to the eyebrow slightly to left of centre and continuing down the left side of the nose. There was heavy bleeding. Fourteen staples were applied to close the wound on the forehead. The victim was treated for blood loss.

You put forward a defence of alibi, which was supported by your partner and your son: but that was clearly disbelieved. I am far from clear that the jury was offered a convincing explanation of the motive for the attack. There were indications that the victim was reluctant to tell the whole truth. The jury deleted the reference to attempted murder, it may be simply because they took the view that if you and your accomplices had actually wanted to kill the victim you could have done so without difficulty.

You are now aged almost 58. You have been convicted on sixteen previous occasions, mostly for offences of dishonesty, particularly theft of motor vehicles. Your last sentence of imprisonment was almost 25 years ago. In the last 20 years you have had only four convictions, all at summary level, and only one of which was for a violent offence. That must have been a relatively minor assault because you were tried in the District Court and you were admonished. There is no other violence in your record. Your last conviction of any kind was almost 10 years ago.

You have worked for 28 years as a steel fixer. You also describe yourself as a semi-skilled motor mechanic. Your first wife died of cancer. You have a long term partner and there is an adult son of that relationship who works as a steel fixer. Your step daughter is a school teacher. Given all the circumstances I am not necessarily convinced that you were the prime mover behind this very serious assault.

Having regard to all the information brought to my attention at the trial and subsequently and exercising such leniency as I can I shall sentence you to a period of eight years imprisonment backdated to 8 July 2013 the date when you were first remanded in custody.

Further in terms of section 248 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, I am satisfied that a motor vehicle was used for the purposes of committing or facilitating the commission of this offence and, having regard to this offence and your record of offending in relation to motor vehicles, I shall also disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of ten years from today’s date; and I shall order endorsement of your driving licence accordingly”.

 

 

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