HMA v Matthew Morrison

At the High Court in Glasgow today, March 6 2019, Lord Arthurson sentenced Matthew Morrison to eight years’ imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

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

“On 10 January 2019 at Edinburgh High Court you were convicted by a jury of one charge of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement, involving the use by you of an improvised bladed weapon in a prison context, another charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice by seeking to dispose of that weapon after the attack, and a further charge related to possession of the weapon in a prison.

“In returning its verdict the jury has plainly rejected your position of self-defence. The multiple incised wounds which you inflicted on your fellow inmate’s head and body were significant and have resulted in permanent scarring. Your motive for this random attack appeared, on the evidence, to relate to your wish to achieve a prison transfer.

“Your criminal record is truly deplorable. You have accrued 19 groups of previous convictions and served to date 17 custodial sentences.

“You have been convicted on indictment five times and been sentenced twice already in the High Court. You have a particular history of crimes involving the use of knives, and indeed other weapons, such as bricks and a hammer.

“The criminal justice social work report and risk assessment which has been prepared for today’s sentencing hearing discloses that you have failed entirely to demonstrate any remorse for your actions, and the view of the author of the report is that your offending is increasing in frequency and seriousness. You have further to date been wholly unwilling to engage with post-custodial supervision.

“You have continued to offend seriously when you have been released from custody, and, indeed, as we see on this indictment, have continued to do so even while you are in custody. You are assessed as having maximum risks and needs and as presenting a significant risk to the community at large.

“Clearly no other disposal is appropriate on this indictment than a substantial custodial one, to punish you and to protect members of the public from the danger which you undoubtedly present.

“Your offending in this case has to be seen in its full and proper context, that is by considering the assessment of your risk which I have just mentioned and indeed your extensive and escalating criminal record, in particular for crimes of instrumental violence.

“Charge one on this indictment is another such crime, committed by you in a custodial setting for the simple purpose of obtaining a transfer.

“I have listened with care to the remarks in mitigation advanced by your counsel this morning, and note in particular what he has said about the stark choices available to the court in approaching disposal in your case.

“I have in the whole circumstances reached the view that I require to impose upon you a further period of custody on a consecutive basis to the sentence currently being served by you.

“Accordingly, on charge two on this indictment you will serve a period of imprisonment of two years, and on charges one and three, on an in cumulo basis, you will serve concurrently with that said period a period of imprisonment of eight years, all of course on the said consecutive basis.”