HMA v Alistair Hood

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 8 June 2016, Lady Wolffe sentenced Alistair Hood to four years imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to assault and robbery with an imitation firearm.

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

“Alistair Hood, you have pled guilty to a charge of assault and robbery, whereby you demanded money from two employees in a newsagents, while presenting an imitation firearm and threatening to shoot them. Separately, you have pled guilty to possession of an imitation firearm, contrary to section 16A of the Firearms Act 1968. 

This was a terrifying incident for your victims and, from the terms of the victim impact statement, one that continues to affect one of your victims.  

In sentencing you today, I have regard to the circumstances of the assault and robbery, and its effects. I have regard to your past record, which is very limited. 

I also have had regard to the psychiatric report previously prepared and to the terms of the criminal justice social work (CJSW) report. They both note your troubled upbringing and dysfunctional family life, and your continuing struggle in adulthood with drugs and mental health issues. The author of the CJSW report notes that you are remorseful and disgusted with your actions that day. 

You accept full responsibility. In terms of risk, it is of concern to the author that these offences represent a significant escalation and that there are few positives in your life so as to promote desistance from crime. 

I have had regard to all that has been said on your behalf today. On your behalf, your counsel reiterated the apology you tendered on the last occasion for your actions.  You understand the impact your actions have had. 

The assault and robbery do not reflect a pattern of serious violence. You have used the time in custody already in positive ways, to engage with your inappropriate behaviour. You are attending educational classes and your general health is improving. You wish to return to society as a productive member of it. You are realistic about the sentence you face today. 

This was a senseless, unprovoked and terrifying attack on two women engaged in their employment. The sentence I pass must reflect the seriousness of this conduct. 

Having considered all of the foregoing matters, including the circumstances of the offence, your personal circumstances, past record and all that has been said on your behalf, I am satisfied that there is no alternative to a custodial sentence. This was accepted by your representative on your behalf. 

The sentence I pass on charge 1 is a custodial sentence six years. By reason of your early plea, I shall reduce this to a period of four years. 

The sentence I pass on charge 2 is a custodial sentence of one year. By reason of your early plea, I shall also reduce this, to a custodial period of eight months. 

The sentences I impose shall run concurrently. I shall backdate these to the start of your period in custody in relation to this matter, being 19 January 2016.”