HMA v Robert Crawford

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 25 November 2016, Lord Boyd of Duncansby imposed an extended sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment on Robert Crawford after the accused was convicted of assault to severe injury, danger of life and permanent disfigurement. The custodial term will be six years, followed by an extension period of four years on licence.

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

“Robert Crawford, you have been convicted of assault to severe injury, danger of life and permanent disfigurement.

You went to the house of Alan Moir, refused to leave, entered the bedroom and created a disturbance. When you were confronted by the complainer you picked up a knife on the floor and lunged at him striking once him on the chest. The injury he sustained was sufficiently serious that for a number of hours it was considered life threatening.

You have a long record which includes crimes of violence. In particular you were convicted in 1997 at the High Court in Edinburgh of robbery involving a firearm. In 2003 you were convicted of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement. In 2008 you were again convicted of assault and robbery at the High Court. And in 2011 you were convicted at Dunfermline Sheriff Court of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement using a knife.

I have a criminal justice social work report which understandably concludes that you pose a substantial and continuing risk to public safety. It is suggested that you should be considered a candidate for an order for lifelong restriction.

I am satisfied however that this particular offence was not premeditated. You were not the first to present a knife; the complainer entered the bedroom armed with a large knife, stood on a bed above you and apparently threatened you with it. I take that into account. I also take into account the fact that there was only one stab wound albeit that it could have had fatal consequences.

I also note that you managed to stay out of trouble for a period of a year from your release before the commission of this offence. Given your prolific offending history, that may be counted as a minor achievement.

For these reasons I am not satisfied that the risk criteria are met. Nevertheless I am satisfied that the sentence that I can impose is insufficient for the protection of the public. Accordingly, I intend to impose an extended sentence.

You were at the time of the offence on licence having been released on 4 June 2015 and your sentence is due to expire on 30 April 2017.

I will make an order under section 16 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings Act returning you to prison for 260 days from today’s date being the unexpired portion of your sentence taking into account the 20 days you spent on remand in respect of this matter before your recall under section 17 of the Act. That order is to run concurrently with the order made by Scottish Ministers under section 17.

In respect of this offence I shall impose an extended sentence of 10 years, of which the custodial part shall be six years and the extended part four years. Had you been convicted after trial the custodial part would have been eight years. The sentence shall be consecutive to the order under section 16.”