HMA v David Allan and Liam McMeechan

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 24 March 2017, Lord Boyd of Duncansby imposed an extended sentence of nine years on Liam McMeechan after the accused pled guilty to assault to severe injury and attempted robbery. Lord Boyd of Duncansby also sentenced the co-accused David Allan to two years and eight months imprisonment after he pled guilty to assault and attempted robbery.

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

“On 12 August last year you both set out to rob a shop in the Trinity area of Edinburgh. At the end of the incident the shopkeeper was left with very serious injuries.

I have read the victim statement and it sets out eloquently not only the impact on him but the fear of assault and robbery that shopkeepers working alone will face.

It is the duty of the courts to do what they can to protect retail workers particularly those who may be working alone in small corner shops.

David Allan, you are not responsible for the use of the machete or any of the serious injuries that Tahir Ahmed sustained. Nevertheless you associated yourself with a plan to rob the shop.

You have a criminal record but it shows nothing which is analogous to this offence. It spans a five-year period starting when you were 38. You have not offended since 2009. I take all of that into account.

You have a heroin addiction but I am pleased to hear that you are focussed on becoming drug free and making use of your time in custody.

Since it is clear that you can stay out of trouble for substantial periods of time and you appear to have a desire to get drug free and back into employment I can mitigate the sentence I might have passed.

Having regard to all the circumstances had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a sentence of three years imprisonment. In view of the early plea I shall discount the sentence to 32 months imprisonment.

I shall backdate the sentence to 1 September 2016.

Liam McMeechan, your responsibility for what happened is much greater than that of your co-accused.

You went to the shop armed with a machete. You inflicted serious injuries upon Mr Ahmed which will have a lasting physical and psychological impact upon him.

Your personal circumstances are also very different. You are considerably younger. Your record is substantial.

In particular in 2013 you were convicted on three occasions of assault and robbery or attempted robbery. On these occasions you were sentenced to 41 months, 20 months with 1 year SRO and 32 months detention respectively.

You had been at liberty for 22 days before you committed this offence.

I conclude that you are a considerable menace and pose a risk of serious harm to the public.

Accordingly, the sentence I will impose will be an extended one so that you subject to a period of supervision in the community for a longer period than would normally be the case.

It will also mean that if you offend during that time you may be returned to prison.

I have listened carefully to everything that has been said.  Nevertheless this is a very serious charge which can only be dealt with by a significant sentence.

I shall make an order under section 16 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 returning you to prison for the balance of your outstanding sentence, namely 414 days. This order is to be concurrent with the order made by Scottish Ministers under section 17 of Act.

Thereafter I shall sentence you to an extended sentence of nine years of which the custodial part shall be seven years imprisonment to be consecutive to the order I have just made. Had you been convicted after trial the custodial part of the sentence would have been one of eight years imprisonment.”