HMA v Jason Watson

At Glasgow High Court on Wednesday 12 March Judge Cubie sentenced Jason Watson to 3 years 4 months imprisonment and a supervised release order for a period of 12 months, the accused was also disqualified from driving for 68 months, after he was found guilty of assaulting two men and their dogs with a car.

On sentencing, Judge Cubie made the following statement in court:

“You were found guilty by the jury of a crime of assault to severe injury etc. in relation to two complainers. Effectively the jury determined that the car was used as a weapon against these two men and their dogs; I recognise that the jury were not satisfied that on the return journey there was a similar assault and they deleted the reference to attempted murder, matters which will be reflected in the sentence imposed.

Your original position was that the collisions were accidental – indeed you seemed to advance the case that you did not realise that you had hit anybody, a position that was impossible to reconcile with your actions afterwards in setting the vehicle on fire; even on your own account that was because you realised you had done something which would have consequences for you, which can only mean that you realised you had struck someone, as you said to the police, and that you recognised that there were implications. The jury were satisfied that the setting of the vehicle alight was a deliberate act to avoid detection. It was unsuccessful and doomed to failure – your position that it shows you were taking responsibility is undermined by your lack of cooperation; you did not provide the details of the driver, nor did you cooperate with either roadside nor station breath test.

I recognise that you have accepted responsibility for the road traffic offences,; I have no doubt that the alcohol which you drank, which you refused to allow to be measured was a factor in your erratic and dangerous behaviour that night.

Your record is relatively minor but shows a concerning disregard for the road traffic act and also a most recent conviction for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

I recognise that the report reflects some insight and some regrets, but no responsibility for the principal offences.

Given the use of a vehicle, the seriousness of the Injuries and the attempts to cover up demonstrating a knowledge of what you had done and an appreciation of the circumstances, only a custodial sentence is appropriate. I take into account the deletion and consider that there is force in the submission that absent the attempted murder allegations and the second and third incidents, this matter would be likely to have been prosecuted at sheriff and jury level.

In relation to charge 1 you will serve a sentence of imprisonment of 3 years 4 months.

In relation to the period imposed on charge 1 given the terms of the report and the risk identified by both your record and the current offence I also propose to impose a period of supervision after release from the custodial part. I impose a supervised release order for a period of 12 months.

In relation to charge 2 you will serve 12 months, concurrent to the sentence imposed on charge 1.

In relation to charges 3 and 4 admonished and licence endorsed.

Charge 5, 4 months imprisonment reduced from 6 months to reflect an earlier plea also to be served concurrently; I would have imposed a period of disqualification of 4 years; given the custodial sentence which has been imposed on charge 1, I require to consider the diminished effect of the disqualification given the custodial sentence imposed; accordingly so that the period of disqualification has full effect, I will impose a period of 68 months disqualification being the 4 year period of disqualification and a period equal to half of the term of imprisonment imposed.

The sentence will be backdated to the date of your remand.”