HMA v Kristopher Reynolds and Martin Argyelan

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 29 July 2019, Lord Matthews sentenced Kristopher Reynolds and Martin Argyelan to extended sentences of 10 years and 12-and-a-half years respectively, after the two accused were found guilty of the culpable homicide of James Thomson. Reynolds’ sentence consists of a custodial element of seven years and an extension period of three years on licence, while Argyelan’s sentence comprises a custodial term of nine years and six months, with six months attributable to a bail aggravation, and an extension period of three years on licence.

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

“You were convicted after trial of the culpable homicide of James Thomson, a much loved husband and father whose loss has been keenly felt.

“I have read impact statements from his widow, his son and his daughter and these dignified and heart rending documents are testimony to the huge gap that his death has left and will leave in their lives.

“No sentence I can impose will ever compensate for their loss, which resulted from the most mundane of arguments and the way it developed.

“The jury did not convict you of the charge of murder which you faced. This means that they were not satisfied that you either intended to kill Mr Thomson or acted towards him with the wicked recklessness and callousness which is entailed in the crime of murder.

“In fact, as counsel have said, and as was demonstrated in the evidence, Mr Thomson’s death was something of a freak occurrence, in unusual circumstances, the piece of pool cue which killed him penetrating a part of the skull where the bone structure is relatively weak. Had it been a few centimetres either side of where it went in we would not be here today.

“Nonetheless, pushing an object which comes to any sort of point, even one as relatively thick as the tip of a pool cue, into the vicinity of someone’s face clearly has the capacity to cause damage, as mothers will frequently tell their children. In this case the damage was a penetrating injury which entered the brain and brought about death.

“Mr Argyelan you have accepted that you were the one who inflicted that damage. Mr Reynolds, you were convicted on an art and part basis, the jury obviously accepting that you were party to an assault with the cue, albeit I have no doubt that you did not appreciate precisely how it was going to be used and in fact did not appreciate how it had been used till a much later stage.

“You both have records including convictions for violence and I am satisfied that in order to protect the public from serious harm from you on your release it will be appropriate and necessary to pass extended sentences on each of you.

“This means that after your release you will be subject to the conditions of a licence, the terms of which will be set by the Scottish ministers. Breach of the conditions will render you liable to be recalled to prison to serve out the remainder of the whole sentence.

“I have considered the evidence which I heard, your previous convictions, the terms of the reports, the impact statements and what has been said by your counsel.

“I am satisfied that I should distinguish between you because of the different roles you clearly played in this enterprise. It is not always possible to do so but in this case your individual responsibilities are fairly clear.

“Kristopher Reynolds, I pass on you an extended sentence to run from 22 August 2018. It consists of a custodial element of seven years and an extension period of three years. That is a total of 10 years.

“As far as you are concerned Martin Argyelan, I pass on you an extended sentence to run from 29 March 2019. It will consist of a custodial term of nine years and six months, with six months attributable to the bail aggravation. The extension period will also be three years, making a total of 12 years and six months.”