HMA v LC (youth) and Alan Clark

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 27 October 2015, Lord Armstrong sentenced a 17-year-old male to nine years detention and his co-accused Alan Clark to eight years detention after they were found guilty of the attempted murder of Robert Campbell.

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

“You have been convicted, after trial, of the attempted murder of Robert Campbell, by together perpetrating on him an unprovoked and concerted attack in which you assaulted him with a knife and a broken bottle, in the course of which you repeatedly stabbed him on the head and body with the knife, and repeatedly attempted to strike him on the body with the broken bottle, all to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life.

This was a brutal and excessively violent, sustained attack, perpetrated with weapons on an unarmed man. You inflicted seven stab wounds to Robert Campbell’s chest and upper body. One deep wound severed a major artery.

This was a cowardly and senseless, but ferocious, and murderous attack. The clear evidence was that, without medical intervention, your victim would have died.

I have read and noted the terms of a victim impact statement by the man you attacked. That attack and its consequences have clearly had a significant, and indeed devastating, effect on his life.

First accused, you are 17 years of age. I have listened carefully to what has been said this morning, by Mr Graham, on your behalf, and I have read and taken account of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report now available.

In relation to this charge of attempted murder, I take into account the extreme level of violence involved in this sustained attack which involved the repeated use of a bladed weapon by you, but I also take into account the mitigation presented on your behalf and the facts of your age at the time and that you appear before me as a first offender.

I am satisfied, given the whole facts of the case, that there is no appropriate alternative to a custodial disposal. Having regard to all of these circumstances, exercising such leniency as I can, having regard to your age at the time, but taking account of the grave nature of your involvement, I sentence you to a period of detention of nine years.

That sentence will run from 29 September 2015, that being the date when your bail was revoked and since when you have been in detention in relation to this offence.

Alan Clark, I have listened carefully to what has been said this morning, by Mr Brown, on your behalf, and I have read and taken account of the criminal justice social work report now available.

You are older than your co-accused. You are 20 years of age.

I accept that the evidence in the trial was that you were not the attacker who wielded the knife which caused the life threatening injuries sustained by your victim. Nevertheless, you used a broken bottle as a weapon and you have been found by the jury to be jointly criminally responsible for the crime of attempted murder along with your co-accused.

You have a criminal record which discloses five previous convictions, including two for assault, one having involved a weapon and one other having been racially aggravated. You have been sentenced to periods of detention on four previous occasions.

Taking into account all of these particular circumstances, I sentence you to a period of detention of eight years. That sentence will run from 6 October 2015, when you were first detained in relation to this matter.”