HMA v KEIL HAULEY

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 14 January 2015, Lady Wolffe imposed a Community Payback Order on Keil Hauley with an unpaid work requirement of 90 hours after the accused pled guilty to attempted assault.

On sentencing, Lady Wolffe made the following statement in court:

“Kiel Anthony Hauley, you went to trial, along with two co-accused, for the murder of Craig Grant outside the Tonik Bar in Aberdeen. In the course of the trial you pled guilty to attempted assault. The Crown accepted that plea, and you appear before me today for sentence on that charge. The night ended with the tragic death of Mr Grant. However, you are not in law responsible for that death and I sentence you on the charge for which your plea of guilty has been accepted.

You and your co-accused were all on duty as door stewards on the night of the 8th of August, and into the early hours on the 9th, in 2013. Shortly before closing, the decision was taken to remove Mr Grant from the bar. While he had not been long in the bar, he had entered without incident on his own, purchased a drink, taken it to a table and fallen asleep. He was roused and escorted out. He was not aggressive while being taken outside. Indeed, one witness described Mr Grant as having no power in his movements and almost dragging his feet as he was being escorted out. While there is CCTV footage showing events inside the bar and also from a certain point outside, there is a gap in that footage and it is not known in what manner he was put outside of the front door.

What is described next was of Mr Grant, now facing back toward the entrance to the bar, apparently wishing to regain entry. He was described as leaning forward a little. As one witness described it, this stance was not aggressive but the way he would stand if a little unsteady on his feet through having drunk too much, as Mr Grant had that night. Mr Grant was verbally aggressive. He also made two underhanded swiping motions with his hands towards you. While Mr Grant was described as a large man, the force of his body was not behind these. The first swipe was readily deflected. At the second swipe, however, you overreacted and swung out with your full body weight at Mr Grant’s head. This lead your co-accused, Jonas Marcius, to seize Mr Grant and to pull him to the ground. In law, you are not responsible for the action of another, nor for what followed.

In placing your own actions that night into context, I note the evidence led at trial that as a door steward you would have undergone a period of training before you were licensed as a door steward. This included training in minimising conflict and avoiding violence. However, that night you ignored this training and escalated matters. You struck out at Mr Grant and which, through a subsequent chain of events for which you are not in law responsible, led to Mr Grant’s tragic and untimely death.

I have had the benefit of a Criminal Justice Social Work Report. In that Report it is noted that you accept that your behaviour that night was neither professional nor acceptable. You are remorseful for what has occurred and your role in it. You find it difficult to understand how Mr Grant died that night and you expressed empathy toward Mr Grant’s family for their loss. While it is noted that you have several previous convictions, most of these relate to road traffic offences. There is one conviction for breach of the peace and assault. All of these were dealt with by way of fines, admonishment or endorsements on your licence. You are not regarded as presenting a high risk of re-offending.

You have not worked as a door steward since that night. You have gained other full-time employment. You have a wife and family whom you support. You have never served a term of imprisonment.

I have taken into account all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation. You accept that what you did was unacceptable and you are remorseful.  There has also been a gap in your offending and the only analogous previous conviction was some five or six years ago.

In the light of all of the information before me, I have considered whether a custodial sentence is appropriate.  You have pled guilty to a simple attempted repeated assault. This was wholly unprofessional and contrary to all of your training. However, it was not aggravated by features such as the use of a weapon, or of attacking a smaller or weaker person, nor of being prolonged. On reflection, I do not believe that a term of imprisonment would be the appropriate disposal.

I have decided to impose a non-custodial sentence. You will be made the subject of a Community Payback Order with an unpaid work requirement of 90 hours. This is to be completed within six months.”