HMA v Mark Anderson

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 3 February 2017, Lord Boyd of Duncansby sentenced Mark Anderson to nine years’ imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Nigel Poustie.

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

“Mark Anderson, the Crown have accepted that the degree of violence used by you it is not an assault from which the necessary intention of murder can be inferred.

Nor is it of such severity that it can be said that you exhibited gross and wicked recklessness. I am sure that is correct.

Nevertheless over a protracted period of time on 3 and 4 July last year you subjected Nigel Poustie to the most appalling attack which can only be described as torture.

You bound his hands and feet to a chair. You repeatedly punched him on the head.

You obtained a hammer and a baseball bat and used these to repeatedly hit him on the knees and legs. While they did not cause fractures they would have caused him considerable pain.

At various times you placed a pillow case over his head. You poured boiling water over him resulting in scalding injuries to his face.

I am told that the attack was not continuous but that Mr Poustie was kept tied to the chair from sometime in the evening of 3 July well into the morning of 4 July. One can only imagine the fear that he experienced during that time.

As ever of course the dispute was over drugs but nothing can excuse the violence that was meted out to him.

I am told that Mr Poustie was regarded in the community as a poor soul. But he had family and I have a victim statement from a girl who was his daughter. This event has left her devastated.

I have read the criminal justice social work report. You appear to have limited insight into this crime.

You deny that you had a baseball bat and say that you only ‘tapped’ him on the knee with the hammer, a claim disproved by the pathology.

When you were asked about pouring boiling water over him you said that you did not mean to hurt him.

You have a criminal record but it is all at summary level and does not contain convictions for violence.

I regard the level of violence used by you over a protracted period of time as very concerning.

While the Crown have accepted that it does not amount to murder it clearly contributed to Mr Poustie’s death. I regard this offence at the higher end of culpable homicide.

I have listened carefully to what has been said on your behalf. I note that you have had a good work record in the past and that your addiction to powerful painkillers appears to have come about following an industrial accident. In all the circumstances I am prepared to exercise a degree of leniency.

Had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment. In view of the plea I shall discount that to one of nine years’ imprisonment backdated to 6 July 2016.”