HMA v Stuart Kitt

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 18 January 2018, Lord Pentland imposed an extended sentence of 10 years on Stuart Kitt after the accused was found guilty of assault to injury, permanent impairment and disfigurement and to the danger of life. The custodial part will be seven years, which will be followed by an extension period of three years on licence.

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

“Stuart Kitt, you were convicted after trial of a serious violent assault, which endangered your victim’s life and left him permanently impaired. There was convincing evidence at the trial that you punched the victim with substantial force in an unprovoked attack in the street. This was a single blow.

“It appeared to me, in the light of the evidence at the trial, that you had completely lost control of yourself. The information before the court indicates that this is not the first time that such a loss of control on your part has led to serious criminality.

“A majority of the jury, to my mind unsurprisingly, rejected your defence that you were acting in self-defence and in defence of another person. The consequences of this attack have been devastating for the victim; he has been left incapable of living independently.

“You have a bad record of previous offending; this extends to numerous drug- related offences, to offences of violence, of disorder and of dishonesty. You clearly have no respect for authority or for orders of the court; you have frequently offended whilst subject to bail conditions. It is particularly concerning that in 2011 you were convicted of an offence of violence and sentenced to imprisonment for a number of years.

“Overall, I am satisfied that you are a prolific criminal with marked tendencies towards violence. You present a serious danger to public safety.

“I have had the great advantage of reading a detailed and comprehensive risk assessment report on you prepared by Dr Baird. After careful consideration of all the relevant circumstances, including certain information about your background and family history, which you had not previously disclosed, Dr Baird concluded that you present a medium but not a high risk of causing further harm to the public at large; he considered that you are amenable to change if appropriate work is done by you and others to address your various difficulties.

“Dr Baird was satisfied that there were strong links between the previously undisclosed information to which he refers in his report and your pattern of offending, of substance misuse and of impaired social functioning. If you are willing now to confront that background there are prospects that your risk level will be reduced by the time you are released into the community.

“Having carefully studied Dr Baird’s assessment, I accept his conclusions and opinions. I have also taken into account the submissions made on your behalf this morning and of the contents of the criminal justice social work report.

“In the whole circumstances of the case, I consider that the appropriate penalty is the imposition of an extended sentence of ten years’ duration. This is necessary for the protection of the public. The custodial part of this will be seven years; six months of this is attributable to the bail aggravation. The extension period will be three years.

“During that period you will be subject to a licence; this means that you will be subject to close monitoring, supervision and other measures designed to protect the public and to support you upon your eventual release from prison. I wish to make it clear to you that if you breach any of the conditions of your licence you are liable to be returned to custody.

“Your sentence will be backdated to 22 January 2017.”