HMA v Robert Wilson

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 4 April 2019, Lord Uist sentenced Robert Wilson to six years’ imprisonment, after the offender was convicted of assaulting a man to the danger of his life by driving a car over him.

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

You have been convicted by the jury of assaulting Patrick Burns in Comely Bank, Hamilton on 1 January last year by driving a car at him, accelerating and striking him on the body with the car causing him to be thrown over it and onto the ground and then reversing the car over his body as he lay on the ground, all to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life. In other words, you used a car as a weapon to carry out a planned attack on him.

You are now 43 years of age, cohabiting, and have six children, three of whom live at home with you. You were in employment. You have a criminal record consisting of five court appearances between November 1998 and February 2005. They are all for summary offences, but in November 1998 you were sentenced to imprisonment for driving while disqualified. The fact that you have previously received a custodial sentence enables me to impose sentence today without having to obtain a criminal justice social work report on you, but I should make clear that your previous custodial sentence, because it was imposed so long ago, does not have the effect of increasing your sentence on this charge. For the purpose of determining your sentence today, I shall ignore your previous convictions.

Nevertheless, the crime which you committed is one of considerable gravity and resulted in severe injury to your victim. We heard from him how it has greatly affected his life. Even now it is not clear what exactly caused you to act in the way which you did. I find it difficult to understand how one human being could deliberately drive a car at another human being with the deliberate intention of causing him serious harm and then reverse over that other human being. In light of the jury’s verdict a significant prison sentence is required. The sentence which I impose is 6 years’ imprisonment from today’s date.”