HMA v SCOTT GEDDES

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Pentland imposed an extended sentence on Scott Geddes comprising a custodial part of 4 years and an extension period of 2 years after he pled guilty to assault to severe injury and to the danger of the victim’s life in Glasgow on 12 August 2013.

04 February 2014

On sentencing Lord Pentland made the following statement in court:

“Scott Geddes, you have pleaded guilty at an early stage in the prosecution to a single charge of assault to severe injury and to the danger of the victim's life.  The agreed narrative of the facts explains that at the time of the offence you and the victim were living in accommodation for homeless persons in Glasgow.  You both had alcohol-related problems.  As shown on CCTV footage, what happened was that in the late evening you went into the television room and approached the victim.  A heated argument broke out between the two of you, apparently because you were concerned by his conduct towards an elderly resident.  During the argument you moved closer to the victim, removed a knife from your clothing and stabbed him once in the abdomen.  You then left the room.  At the time of committing the offence, you were under the influence of alcohol.

The victim suffered a severe injury comprising a single stab wound to his lower left abdomen.  It transpired that you had cut an artery resulting in extensive blood loss.  The victim had to be kept in the high dependency unit in hospital for 5 days.  Had he not received prompt medical attention, he could have died.

You have a varied criminal record dating back to August 2001. You have been convicted of possessing weapons, assault and offences of disorder, all at summary level.  The criminal justice social work report explains that all your offending has been related to the abuse of alcohol.

It is noteworthy that between 2008 and 2012 you stayed out of trouble during a period when you had your drinking under control and were subject to a probation order.

I take account of the fact that you have expressed substantial remorse for what you did and that you have evinced empathy for the victim.

The present offence represents a substantial escalation in your offending. Since it involved an aggravated assault with a weapon, the court must take a very serious view of it.

In my considered opinion, you present a serious risk to public safety unless you can restrain your excessive drinking.  In the circumstances, I am in no doubt that the protection of the public requires that an extended sentence is imposed on you.  The first part of this is custodial.  Had you not pled guilty, I would have made the custodial part of the extended sentence 6 years.  I acknowledge that since a trial did not take place there was saving to the public purse and witnesses were not inconvenienced by having to testify.  Taking account of all the relevant circumstances and in the exercise of the discretion vested in me, I shall discount the custodial part of your extended sentence to 4 years imprisonment in view of your guilty plea.

The second part of the custodial sentence is called the extension part.  During this period of time you will be subject to close monitoring, supervision and support so that the risk you present to the public can be contained and so that you can be rehabilitated; no doubt the focus of the support and the work done with you will be on your problem of alcohol abuse.  In the circumstances, I propose to make the extension part 2 years.

I have to make it clear to you that if you breach any of the terms of your release licence during the extension period you are liable to be returned to prison.

I shall backdate the sentence to 14 August 2013 when you were first remanded in custody for the present offence.”