HMA v Mark Chung and Benjamin Kinnaird

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 6 July 2017, Lord Arthurson imposed an extended sentence of 15 years on Mark Chung and sentenced Benjamin Kinnaird to nine years’ imprisonment after the co-accused were found guilty of assault and armed robbery.

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

“Mark Chung, on 9 June 2017 you were convicted by a jury of three offences of assault and robbery, while acting with another, with faces masked and using weapons, including a firearm. 

“A significant aggravating factor in your case is the fact that you committed these offences shortly after you had absconded from prison while serving a lengthy sentence for analogous offences, also involving weapons. 

“During that period of absence you engaged in the significant planning which must have been required in relation to the perpetration of these offences, which themselves represent an extremely serious course of criminal conduct amongst the public of Glasgow.

“These offences must have been truly terrifying for the employees and customers of the premises involved. The victim impact statements which I have read confirm this to be the case.

“Your record is one of the worst I have encountered in this court. You have served multiple significant custodial sentences in England.

“In 1995 and in 2001 you received sentences of four years and five years’ imprisonment respectively for robbery-related offending, and in 2005 you received a sentence of seven years imprisonment for drugs-related crimes.

“You were sentenced at Glasgow High Court in November 2011 for offences analogous to the charges on the present indictment, again involving weapons, including a hand gun, and received a 12-year custodial sentence.

“Finally, in January 2017 you received a consecutive two-year sentence on indictment at Perth Sheriff Court for prison breaking.  Your earliest date of liberation is accordingly, I am advised, December 2020. 

“I have read with care the terms of the criminal justice social work report prepared for this sentencing hearing, and have listened to your counsel’s submissions advanced on your behalf both on 9 June and again this morning. Nevertheless, I conclude that given the gravity of the offences of which you have been convicted, nothing other than a very substantial custodial sentence would be appropriate in your case. 

“The author of the report has stated plainly that there is no indication of change or expression of willingness on your part to refrain from your established criminal behaviour. I am satisfied on the material before me that you represent a very significant risk of re‑offending and a high risk of causing serious harm to the public.

“Accordingly, the normal period of licence would not be sufficient to protect the public from the risk which you present on your release from custody. 

“In these circumstances, I am imposing an extended sentence today, which will be in two parts. The first part is a custodial part. That will be followed by an extension period in the community where you will remain under licence and under supervision. 

“The conditions of your licence will be fixed by Scottish Ministers. If during this extension period you fail to comply with the conditions of your licence, it may be revoked by Scottish Ministers and you may be returned to custody for a further period in respect of this indictment. The court also has the power to deal with you if you commit another offence after your release and while you are on licence.

“This extended sentence covers all of the charges on the current indictment. The sentence reflects your offending itself in this case, which took place while you had absconded from custody, and takes into account your truly appalling criminal record. 

“It reflects the view of this court that you are a highly intelligent career offender who currently has no intention of deviating from the criminal pathway which you have followed until now. 

“Accordingly, I pass today an extended sentence of 15 years duration, with a custodial term of 12 years and an extension period of three years. This sentence will run consecutively to the sentences which you are currently serving.” 

“Benjamin Kinnaird, on 9 June 2017 you were unanimously convicted by a jury of three offences of assault and robbery, while acting with another, with faces masked and using weapons, including a firearm, while on three Bail Orders. 

“These offences, representing as they do an extremely serious course of criminal conduct amongst the public of Glasgow, must have been truly terrifying for the employees and customers of the premises involved. 

“The victim impact statements, which I have read, confirm this, and you yourself acknowledge that to be the case in the comments made by you to the author of the criminal justice social work report prepared for this sentencing hearing, albeit you maintain your denial of the offences themselves.

“Your criminal record is extensive, but you have not accrued any convictions for violent offending since a conviction on indictment in February 1990 for assault with intent to rob.  “The report notes that on your own account this offence also involved a shop and that once more your weapon was a knife. You received a sentence of two years imprisonment for that crime.

“Primarily, however, your historic and continuing offending, which contains significant gaps, is related to your long term drug misuse. You have accrued 35 groups of previous convictions and served 26 custodial sentences in the course of that record, although I note that you have not received a custodial sentence since 1998.

“I have taken into account everything which was said by your counsel on your behalf on 9 June and has been said this morning. I have also read carefully the background information set out in the report prepared for this hearing.

“The offences for which the court must sentence you today involved, on any view, a significant level of planning. This conviction represents a very concerning escalation in your offending.

“In my view, your risk of further serious offending is high in the event that you return to the abuse of controlled substances while in the community. 

“Having considered carefully the contents of the criminal justice social work report in respect of your risk, however, and in the light of your record, I am satisfied that I can deal with you by the imposition of a determinate rather than an extended sentence. 

“The gravity of your offending in this case, means, nevertheless, that such a sentence requires to be a very substantial custodial one, in order both to punish you for these offences and to protect the public from your offending behaviour.

“In all of these circumstances, the sentence imposed today will be a sentence of nine years imprisonment, in cumulo, on charges 1, 2 and 3. I attribute six months of that sentence to the bail aggravations which I mentioned earlier in these remarks.

“The sentence is backdated to 17 November 2016, which was the date when you were first remanded in custody in respect of these proceedings.”