HMA v William Young

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 19 July 2019, Lord Boyd of Duncansby sentenced William Young to three years and nine months’ imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to assault, dangerous driving, threatening violence, and extortion.

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

“William Young, you appear before me because you have pleaded guilty to a number of serious charges. You used threats of violence along with weapons to put your victims in fear.

“The weapons included a crowbar, baseball bat and a snooker cue or something similar as well as the use of cars driven at other vehicles and on one occasion at a man, Jason Haswell.

“Although no one was physically hurt these incidents must have been shocking and frightening to those involved as well as those who witnessed these events.

The motive in charges 1 and 2 appear to have been one of jealousy. Your partner had left you to return to a previous relationship, one which you say had been abusive.

“You told the social worker that when you became aware of this you intended to confront both her and her partner – with what intention it is not clear.

“But in any event you used a crowbar to smash windows in the property. You then drove off and deliberately swerved your car into the path of a car being driven by Mr McLean causing him to take evasive action.

“The motive in charges 4, 5 and 6 was the recovery of drug debts. In charge 4 you repeatedly attended at Mr Waddell’s house looking for him and issuing threats of violence against him.

“Turning to charges 5 and 6, you assaulted Inez Mackie and her son Jason Haswell.

“You stopped Ms Mackie’s Fiat Punto by blocking its path with your Jaguar. You got out and approached it carrying an iron bar. Ms Mackie drove off in panic and you followed at speed.

“You repeatedly rammed her car causing it to come to rest against a bollard and then rammed it another two or three times. Mr Haswell got out of the car and made off.

“You then got of your car brandishing a snooker cue or something similar and uttering threats.

“You smashed the Fiat’s front passenger window while Ms Mackie was still in the car. She appeared to a witness to be petrified.

“You returned to your own car and drove at speed after Mr Haswell. He jumped over a wall and you then collided with it.

“You then drove off at speed on the opposing carriageway causing other cars to take evasive action.

“It seems to me from that narrative that Mr Haswell is lucky that he was able to escape your attention by jumping over the wall.

“I will return to the assault and threats in a moment but so far as the driving offences are concerned it is clear from your record that you do not consider that the rules of the road – let alone the law – apply to you.

“You have been convicted of road traffic offences on 10 different occasions and been disqualified from driving on four of them. I take that record into account in considering the disposal on charges 2 and 6.

“I have listened carefully to what has been said on your behalf. I take into account that while you have a bad record for road traffic offences the other convictions are minor summary offences.

“I have read the criminal justice social work report and I note that for the most part you accept responsibility and you appear to genuinely remorseful. You showed some insight into the impact of your offences on others and in particular on Inez Mackie.

“In 2016 you suffered a serious accident at work. As a result you have suffered from PTSD and depression.

“You started abusing cocaine and it appears that financing this habit led on to the offences narrated in charges 4, 5 and 6. You have had difficulties with anger management.

“In considering sentence the factors I consider most important in this case are the protection of the public, punishment and rehabilitation.

“The courts will take seriously the use of weapons to intimidate others, whether it be in a jealous rage, the recovery of a debt or any other purpose.

“The sentence that I impose must punish that behaviour and act as a deterrent to others who may be inclined to commit similar offences.

“On the other hand there is a degree of mitigation in your case given your accident and the mental health difficulties which apparently flowed from it.

“I am inclined to accept your remorse as genuine and the expressed desire to turn your life around. It seems to me that you ought to be given that opportunity.

“A custodial sentence is inevitable given the serious nature of these offences. But I take into account the mitigating factors which enables me to moderate the sentence I might otherwise have passed.

“In respect of charges 1, 4 and 5 had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a cumulative sentence of five years’ imprisonment of which six months would be attributable to the bail aggravations.

“You offered to plead guilty to charge 1and charge 5 under deletion of attempted murder at the first preliminary hearing. These pleas were subsequently accepted.

“In the circumstances I have decided that I should exercise my discretion in discounting the sentence to one of 45 months.

“In respect of charge 2 I shall impose a custodial sentence of nine months’ imprisonment. I shall also disqualify you from driving.

“Given your history of road traffic offending I am in no doubt that this should be a long disqualification for the protection of the public. In respect of charge 2, the disqualification shall be three years.

“In respect of charge 6 I shall impose a custodial sentence of 15 months discounted from 20 months. On charge 6 I shall disqualify you from holding a licence for a period it of four years six months, discounted from six years.

“These sentences shall be consecutive to each other but concurrent with the sentence imposed in respect of charges 1, 4 and 5.

“For the avoidance of doubt the periods of disqualification shall be consecutive.

“I shall also direct that you may not hold a driving licence until you have passed the extended driving test.

“The sentences shall be backdated to 5 November 2018.”