HMA v DEREK GRANT

At the High Court in Livingston today, 1 September 2014, Lord Boyd of Duncansby sentenced Derek Grant to six years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the culpable homicide of Patrick Bradley.

On sentencing, Lord Boyd made the following statement in court:

“Derek Grant, you have pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Patrick Bradley.

I have before me the victim statements from his mother and father. It is clear that he was a loving and caring son and his death at your hands has left them, as his mother says, broken hearted. Nothing I can say or do can alleviate that pain.

We know of course that there was another side to Mr Bradley’s character. He was a man of violence who had 10 convictions for assault, five of which were on indictment and included assault to severe injury and assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

You of course did not know that. What you did know was that earlier that night Patrick Bradley robbed your son of his mobile phone at knife point. Had he been caught it seems likely, given his record, that he would have been prosecuted in this court, the High Court, and, on conviction, have received a High Court sentence. As it happens you had the means to bring him to justice because the phone could be located using the ‘Find my iPhone’ app. All you needed to do was to phone the police and give them the information.

However you armed yourself with a knife and, along with your three sons, went looking for him. Mr Duguid, on your behalf, describes the decision to take the knife as an error of judgement. I cannot accept that description. It seems clear that you expected to be met with violence or at least the threat of violence and went armed to meet it. I am told you took the knife for protection. That unfortunately is the excuse that we hear all too often in these courts and all too often it results in tragedy.

In the event the Crown have accepted that the violence you encountered was significant and it is for that reason that your plea of guilty to the lesser crime of culpable homicide has been accepted.

You suffered a horrendous injury losing the sight in one eye. That of course is a lifelong disability. I accept that you do not have a record for violence and your last conviction was in 2003. I accept too that you appear to have a close family and your children have shown considerable promise. Your conviction for this offence is a tragedy for them.

I take into account that you will have to live with the physical consequences of your actions that day for the rest of your life and that it will be serious and debilitating. I have reduced the starting point for the sentence accordingly. Nevertheless you took the law into your own hands and went looking for a man you knew was armed with a knife with a weapon of your own. You took his life stabbing him five times including three times in the chest.

Had you been convicted after trial I would have sentenced you to eight years in prison. In view of the plea that will be discounted to six years in prison backdated to 4th August 2014.”

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