HMA v Fernando Carrasco Dos Santos and Ruben Goncal Ves Semedo Correia

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 22 February 2019, Lord Armstrong sentenced Fernando Carrasco Dos Santos to nine years’ imprisonment for the attempted murder of Rikki Millar, and sentenced Ruben Goncal Ves Semedo Correia to six years and nine months’ imprisonment for assaulting the complainer with a knife to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment, and to the danger of his life.

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

“You have each pleaded guilty to participating in a concerted assault on a man, who was not known to you, on South Street, Perth, by striking him repeatedly on the body with knives, to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment, and to the danger of his life. In your case, Fernando Dos Santos, you have pleaded guilty to attempted murder.                                

“This was a brutal and excessively violent attack, perpetrated with weapons on an unarmed man. You inflicted eight stab or slashing wounds to the man’s chest, abdomen, neck, left flank and to the side and the back of his head.

“Several of the wounds he sustained were in close proximity to vital organs, including his heart, spleen, lungs, and kidneys. These wounds were life-threatening. In addition, and in the course of the attack by you, your victim sustained a wound to his left eye which, despite repeated attempts at treatment, has resulted in a total loss of vision in that eye.

“It is pertinent to note that these injuries would not have been sustained by your victim if you each had not been carrying a knife, when, in the early hours of that Sunday morning, shortly after midnight, you went into the streets of Perth town centre.

“It is implicit in your respective pleas of guilt that you each accept responsibility for inflicting the injuries which your victim sustained.

“Fernando Carrasco Dos Santos, you are 22 years of age.  You now stand convicted of attempted murder. I have listened carefully to what has been said this morning, by Mr Mackenzie, on your behalf, and I have read and taken account of the criminal justice social work report now available.

“In relation to what was a murderous attack by you, I take into account the fact that you were responding to a physical altercation between the man and your co-accused, Ruben Correia, and that the altercation appears to have been initiated by the man you then attacked, but I also take into account the level of violence by you and Ruben Correia, which involved the repeated use of a bladed weapon by you.

“I have taken into account the mitigation presented on your behalf. I take into account that this was a spontaneous incident, which was short-lived, that you have expressed remorse, your whole personal circumstances, and the manner in which the plea negotiations developed.

“You have a criminal record which discloses some seven previous convictions, including one for assault. You have previously been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of 18 months.

“I am satisfied, given the whole facts of the case, that there is no appropriate alternative to a custodial disposal.

“Having regard to all of these circumstances, taking account of the grave nature of your involvement, had I been sentencing you after trial I would have imposed on you a period of imprisonment of 10 years. 

“I recognise, however, that the timing of your plea, at the trial diet, has resulted in some public utility, and accordingly, taking that into account, the sentence I will in fact impose on you is one of a period of imprisonment of nine years.

“That sentence will run from 7 June 2018, that being the date when you were first detained in relation to this offence.

“Ruben Goncal Ves Semedo Correia, I have listened carefully to what has been said this morning on your behalf, and I have read and taken account of the criminal justice social work report now available.

“You are 24 years of age. In relation to your plea of guilty to what is a grave charge of aggravated assault, I take into account the fact that you were responding to a physical assault on you, by the man who, together with Fernando Dos Santos, you subsequently attacked, and that you acted under provocation.

“I also take into account that some weeks previously, you, yourself, had been attacked in Perth town centre, had sustained serious injury, and were carrying a knife at the time of this incident for reasons of self-protection. While I do not regard that as mitigation, I note that as the reason you were armed as you were.

“However, I also take into account the level of violence used by you and Fernando Dos Santos, which involved the repeated use of a bladed weapon by you.

“I have taken into account the mitigation presented on your behalf. I take into account what is disclosed by the CCTV footage which captured the incident, your whole personal circumstances, and the other factors drawn to my attention: your good character hitherto, the fact that the incident was short-lived, that you acted under provocation, the nature of the aggravations deleted from the charge in your case, the fact of your guilty plea, and that you will serve a custodial sentence as a foreign national in a Scottish prison.

“I take into account that you appear before me as a first offender.

“In your case, also, I am satisfied, given the whole facts of the case, that there is no appropriate alternative to a custodial disposal.

“Having regard to all of these circumstances, taking account of the grave nature of your involvement, had I been sentencing you after trial I would have imposed on you a period of imprisonment of seven years and six months.

“I recognise, however, that the timing of your plea, at the trial diet, has resulted in some public utility, and accordingly, taking that into account, the sentence I will in fact impose on you is one of a period of imprisonment of six years and nine months.

“That sentence will run from 7 June 2018, when you were first detained in relation to this matter.”