HMA v DARREN LAUDER MCKAY

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Pentland sentenced Darren Lauder Mckay to 3 years imprisonment after he pled guilty to failing without reasonable excuse to appear at a High Court diet 11 June 2013.

On sentencing Lord Pentland made the following statement in court:

20 March 2014

“Darren Lauder McKay, you pled guilty at a Preliminary Hearing on 27 January 2014 to  a contravention of section 102A(1)(a) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, as amended, by failing without reasonable excuse to appear at a High Court diet (a preliminary hearing) on 11 June 2013.  You had been duly cited to attend that hearing, but you chose not to do so and instead went on the run and were not apprehended until 27 November 2013 after a warrant had been granted for your arrest and the police had been instructed to enforce it.  By that time the trial of your co-accused, Ronald Smith and Walter Bett had taken place in your absence.  The regrettable upshot of your decision to abscond was that you had to be separately tried; there required to be two High Court trials instead of just one.  A great deal of extra public expense was thereby incurred – to the police, prison, court and prosecution services; witnesses required to testify for a second time (some of whom were in custody) and, of course, a second jury had to be convened. 

It is no exaggeration to say that you have a disgraceful record of previous offending.  It includes, amongst your numerous convictions for a wide range of offences, several convictions for failing to comply with bail conditions and for attempting to defeat or pervert the course of justice.  I note that you committed the present offence whilst you were on bail.  From all this it is very clear that you are a person who has no respect for the law. 

I take into account the submissions advance in mitigation.  It is a dispiriting feature of the present case that you have spent almost the whole of your adult life in custody. Non-custodial disposals have been attempted, but without success.

In the whole circumstances, I am satisfied that the court must take a serious view of the present offence.  I note that the maximum penalty prescribed by Parliament is 5 years imprisonment.  Having regard to the nature and extent of your record and particularly to the number of analogous convictions, I would have imposed a sentence of 3 years and 6 months imprisonment if you had not pled guilty.  Six months of that would have been attributable to the bail aggravation.

Any utilitarian benefit flowing from your guilty plea seems to me to have been minimal. In the circumstances, I shall allow a discount of 6 months.

I shall backdate the resultant sentence of 3 years imprisonment to 27 November 2013.”