HMA v David Sinclair

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 12 August 2016, Lord Bracadale sentenced David Sinclair to seven years and three months imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to the culpable homicide of a baby boy.

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

“David Sinclair, you have pled guilty to the culpable homicide in December 2012 of your six-month-old son Joshua.

You assaulted him by shaking him, causing injuries as a result of which he died. You must have known at the time that you had shaken him but did not disclose that and it was only after extensive medical investigation demonstrated that he had been shaken that you admitted it. 

It also means that over the period of time between the death of Joshua and your plea of guilty your wife believed in your innocence and supported you on that basis. It is clear from what she has now told the court that she feels that she has been misled by you and can no longer support you.

It is troubling that you have on two occasions in the past been convicted for offences of violence and have served periods of imprisonment. It is also troubling that you appear to have had issues with anger management.

I accept that the conclusion of the consultant paediatric neurosurgeon is that Joshua suffered a shaking injury involving handling at a greater force than encountered in everyday life. He states that the circumstances are consistent with a clinically recognised type of shaking event where a carer who has not planned to injure a child has momentary loss of control with tragic consequences. I take that into account.

I also accept that you have shown remorse for your actions.

But the consequences of your loss of control have been catastrophic.  Nothing can bring back Joshua and all concerned will have to live with that. 

Taking all the circumstances into account I consider that the appropriate sentence, leaving out of account the stage at which you pled guilty, would be eight years imprisonment. You pled guilty shortly before the trial diet. In these circumstances I shall discount the sentence to seven years and three months.                   . 

The sentence will be backdated to 20 July 2016.”

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