HMA v Gary Polland

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 3 May 2018, Lord Pentland sentenced Gary Polland to an extended sentence with 8 years and 60 days imprisonment and an extension period of 3 years after he was convicted of violent crimes including stabbing.

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

"Gary Edward Polland, you stand convicted of a series of criminal offences, which confirm that you are a prolific and dangerous offender. The offences arise from your propensity for resorting to violence when you are under the influence of alcohol. It is of particular concern that two of the offences on the present indictment extend to endangering the lives of others. Charge 2 involved you throwing a piece of rubble towards door stewards, persons who had done you no harm whatsoever. In his report to this court the Sheriff notes that the evidence at your trial showed that you picked up a brick or slab, ran towards the stewards and threw the item with force, aimed at their heads. Charge 5 involved you stabbing your victim later in the course of the same night twice with a knife, as a result of which he suffered severe injuries from which he could have died had he not received prompt medical attention. The wounds you inflicted were dangerously close to your victim’s heart and spleen.

You have a bad record of previous offending. The Social Work Report explains that you have been involved in offending behaviour since you were 13 years of age. You are now 31. You became involved in gang violence as a teenager and routinely carried a knife. You have previous convictions at sheriff court level for offences of disorder and possession of weapons, including knives. As an adult, your most significant conviction was before the High Court on 13 December 2006 when you were convicted of assault to severe injury, permanent impairment and disfigurement and the danger of life; for this an extended sentence of 8 years was imposed – the custodial part being 6 years and the extension part, 2 years. There was a further conviction on this occasion for an offence of assault to severe injury, in respect of which a custodial sentence of 18 months’ detention was imposed. I understand that this was to run concurrently with the extended sentence. 

You subsequently breached the terms of your release licence and were recalled to custody in April 2013 to serve out the unexpired portion of the extended sentence. You were eventually liberated in January 2016. It is obviously a matter of serious concern that the present offences took place in May 2016. The position is, therefore, that within less than 6 months of being liberated to live in the community you committed two further serious offences to the danger of life, both involving the use of weapons on your part. My conclusion is that you clearly have a propensity to resort to life-threatening violence and are prepared to use weapons in furtherance of your violent aims. 

I have had the great advantage of reading a detailed and comprehensive risk assessment report on you prepared by a consultant clinical forensic psychologist. After careful consideration of all the relevant circumstances, she concluded that you present a medium but not a high risk of causing further harm to the public at large. She considers that you have an antisocial personality disorder with some borderline personality disorder traits. It is her view that a robust treatment and management plan can be devised which would be effective in reducing the risk of violence on your part in the medium to long term. She acknowledges that previous prisoner treatment programmes have not been successful in your case and that you have a history of being recalled to custody when on licence. Having carefully studied her assessment, I accept her conclusions and opinions. Looking at the whole picture, I am satisfied that an order for lifelong restriction would not be the appropriate disposal in your case.

I have also taken into account the realistic and constructive submissions made on your behalf by Mr Moir this morning, of the points made in the note of objections, and of the contents of the criminal justice social work report.

In my view the sentences to be imposed must reflect the fact that there were three separate incidents – the attack on the door stewards, the stabbing, and finally your threatening and abusive conduct towards police officers.

In the whole circumstances of the case, I consider that the appropriate penalties in your case are as follows:

On charge 1, a sentence of one month’s imprisonment.

On charge 2, a sentence of one year’s imprisonment.

The sentences on charges 1 and 2 will be backdated to 20 November 2017 and will run concurrently.

On charge 4, a sentence of 3 months imprisonment.

On charge 5, an extended sentence of 10 years; the custodial part will be 7 years (6 months of which is attributable to the bail aggravation) and the extension part 3 years. During the extended part of the sentence 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. 

On charge 6 I impose a sentence of 3 months imprisonment.

The sentences on charges 4, 5 and 6 will run concurrently with one another and consecutively to the sentences on charges 1 and 2.

On charge 7 I admonish you.

On charge 8 (a charge of threatening and abusive behaviour aimed at police officers – conduct for which you have previous convictions) I impose a sentence of 60 days imprisonment. 

The sentence on charge 8 will run consecutively to the other sentences.

Accordingly, your total sentence is one of 8 years and 60 days imprisonment with an extension period of 3 years.