HMA v Hidayet Ozden

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 24 January 2017, Judge Graham Buchanan sentenced Hidayet Ozden to two years and eight months imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Shahzad Ali Shah.

On sentencing, Judge Buchanan made the following statement in court:

“I take into account, of course, that it is accepted by the Crown that you did not intend to kill the deceased and that due to a very serious heart condition, of which you were completely unaware, he could have died at any time if placed in a stressful situation.

It appears that it was the stress of these events which caused the cardiac arrhythmia leading to the deceased’s sudden collapse and death.

The deceased was a close friend and business colleague of yours for a number of years and I accept that you are deeply troubled and upset about the fact that you were responsible for his death.

I also accept that at certain points in the course of the dispute you were subjected to a degree of provocation by the deceased but you were responsible for starting the violence and it is clear from the security camera recording of the incident that you behaved in an aggressive and intimidating manner towards Mr Shah for several minutes during which you attacked him on repeated occasions.

These assaults involved repeated punching, slapping and butting on the head and striking the deceased on the head with the handle of a pot. It is to be noted that the deceased suffered a fractured cheekbone and a small bone in his neck was also broken.

The charge includes the aggravation of severe injury but I accept, of course, that the cause of death was ischaemic heart disease and that none of the injuries inflicted by you contributed directly to the deceased’s death.

Apart from a minor road traffic matter many years ago you have no previous convictions and it is clear from the terms of the criminal justice social work report that you are a hard-working and generally law abiding, family man.

The law provides that someone in your position, who has not previously served a custodial sentence, should not be sentenced to imprisonment unless the court considers that no other form of disposal would be appropriate.

In selecting the proper sentence for this offence I have, of course, to attach considerable weight to the fact that a man has lost his life and that his family has been left devastated by these events. I must also have regard to the mitigating circumstances, some of which I have already mentioned.

This is undoubtedly a serious offence and I am sure that you recognise that. I have concluded that in all the circumstances a custodial sentence is inevitable. In relation to a matter as serious as this, and having regard to what I have said about the significant level of sustained aggression and intimidation which you displayed towards the deceased, no sentence other than one of imprisonment would be appropriate.

However, in light of the mitigating factors to which reference has been made, I have decided that the appropriate starting point for sentence would be a sentence of three years and six months imprisonment. Giving you credit for pleading guilty at the stage you did I will restrict the sentence to one of two years and eight months imprisonment.”