HMA v THOMAS MILLIGAN

At the High Court in Glasgow Lord Doherty sentenced Thomas Milligan to 5 years 8 months imprisonment after he pled guilty to firearms offences in April 2013 in Glasgow.

9 July 2013

Lord Doherty made the following statement in court:

“You have pled guilty to three serious firearms offences in respect of possession of a sawn-off shotgun and ammunition on 7 April 2013.

You were involved in an incident at a public house in the Gorbals. You returned there armed with a sawn-off shotgun and ammunition. An altercation with others took place outside the premises. You pulled the shotgun from the waistband of your trousers. You were overpowered and disarmed. The shotgun was thrown on to the embankment of the River Clyde. A police helicopter, armed response vehicles, and several uniformed officers attended at the scene. You were observed putting five shotgun cartridges in a litter bin.

I take account of your early plea of guilty and all that has been said on your behalf. I give you the benefit of the doubt and proceed on the basis that the shotgun did not have a bolt and could not be fired without one; and that your purpose was to frighten the person or persons to whom you intended to present it. However, you armed yourself with a prohibited firearm. You took it out during an altercation. You had brought live ammunition for it with you.  You have a bad record for crimes of violence and for offences involving offensive weapons, knives and other sharp objects. Your most recent conviction was on 28 September 2012 when you were sentenced to five months imprisonment for being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs. You have been convicted on indictment on five previous occasions. On 13 March 1998 you were convicted of assault and robbery and sentenced to probation for one year. You were convicted of a further offence of assault and robbery on 5 March 1999 for which you received 15 months detention. On 29 March 2001 you were convicted of assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement and danger to life and were sentenced to two years detention.  On 11 June 2007 you were convicted of having an offensive weapon with you in a public place for which you were sentenced to 12 months imprisonment. On that occasion you were also sentenced to 20 months imprisonment for being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs. On 5 February 2008 you were sentenced to 30 months imprisonment for breach of the peace, vandalism and having a knife with you in a public place.

In relation to charge 1 - possession of the shotgun without having a firearms certificate - the sentence I would have imposed had you not pled guilty would have been 4 years imprisonment. In view of your early plea by s.76 letter I sentence you to 2 years 8 months imprisonment in respect of that offence. That sentence will run from 9 April 2013.

In relation to charge 2 - possession of a prohibited weapon – the sentence which I would have imposed had you not pled guilty would have been 6 years imprisonment. In view of your early plea I sentence you to 5 years imprisonment in respect of that offence. That sentence will also run from 9 April 2013.

In relation to charge 3 – having the shotgun and ammunition in your possession within five years of your release from prison – a consecutive sentence is appropriate; but I bear in mind the need to avoid a sentence which would be excessive when aggregated with the sentences on charges 1 and 2. The sentence I would have imposed on charge 3 had you not pled guilty would have been 12 months imprisonment. In view of your early plea the sentence I impose in respect of this offence is 8 months imprisonment. That sentence will be consecutive to the sentences on charges 1 and 2.”