HMA v Paul Beattie

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 2 August 2018, Lady Scott sentenced Paul Beattie to nine years’ imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of the culpable homicide of James Gatti.

On sentencing, Lady Scott made the following statement in court:

“Paul Beattie, you have been convicted by the jury of the culpable homicide of James Gatti. The verdict of the jury reflects their view that your actions in killing Mr Gatti by stabbing him with a knife were not mitigated by provocation, but nonetheless fell short of the wickedness required for murder.

“Your culpability, whilst not murderous, remains very serious. You chose to arm yourself with a potentially lethal weapon and engage in a confrontation. You intended to use it. The deceased was not armed.

“Your conduct that night was clearly connected to the effect upon you from your heavy consumption of both alcohol and diazepam.  This is a dangerous mix, which this court sees all too often, being associated with the use of violence. 

“But this factor, whilst it may provide some explanation, cannot by law and in the public interest, provide mitigation.

“You have robbed a young man of his life, his wife of her life partner and his young children of their father. They and the wider close knit family are left devastated and are forever bereft. The consequence of your conduct could not be more serious or heartbreaking.

“On the other hand I take account of the fact that this attack was out of character. You are 46 years of age and you have no history of violence, far less violence involving a lethal weapon. I accept too that you have remorse and have shown insight on the effect of your conduct.

“I take into account the reduction in the libel and the fact that you tendered a plea to culpable homicide prior to trial which was not accepted and that at trial you adhered to your position, in that you did not dispute responsibility for killing the deceased. I am satisfied that this early plea to culpable homicide is sufficient to require me to consider a discount.

“Balancing all of these factors, I sentence you to nine years’ imprisonment, reduced from 11 years in terms of s196(1) of the 1995 Act, which sentence is backdated to the 31 July 2017.”