HMA v JAMES MURPHY

Today at the High Court in Aberdeen Lord Uist imposed a two year probation order on James Murphy after he pled guilty to assault and breach of the peace on the 5 June 2010 in Paisley.

“You pleaded guilty at a preliminary hearing on 29 September this year to having committed three separate offences, all directed against your wife. On 5 June this year you had in your possession a gas powered pistol with intent to cause her to believe that unlawful violence would be used against her and assaulted her by putting your hand on her chest, holding her against her close wall, holding the pistol to her head and threatening her with violence. Three days later, in the same close, you committed a breach of the peace by shouting and swearing, repeatedly banging on your wife’s door and threatening her with violence.

Although you have two minor previous convictions, one of which involved domestic disorder, you are a man of generally good character with a decent work record. These offences were committed when you were suffering from stress and anxiety as a result of your business having failed and at a time when you were not taking your prescribed anti-depressant medication. Since taking your medication while on remand in custody your condition has improved and you are now much less stressed and anxious. You have reconciled with your wife, who is prepared to take you back in the family home. You have, with the exception of a period of four days, been in custody since 6 June this year. That period in custody equates to your having already served a sentence of ten months imprisonment.

Had you pleaded not guilty and been convicted after trial I would have imposed a sentence of three years imprisonment. In view of the period you have already spent in custody, the improvement in your anxiety disorder since you began taking your prescribed medication and, most important of all, the fact that your wife is now prepared to have you back, I am, provided you tell me that you are willing to agree to certain conditions, prepared to place you on probation.

You will be placed on probation under the supervision of a supervising officer for a period of two years, and will undertake during that period (1) not to commit any offence; (2) to conform to the directions of the supervising officer as to your conduct; and (3) to attend for psychiatric treatment and counselling as directed and to take all medication prescribed for you.

I have to make plain that if, during the period of probation, you commit another offence or otherwise fail to comply with the conditions of your probation order, you may be brought back to this court and sentenced to imprisonment for these offences.

Do you understand what I have said? (Affirmative answer)

Are you prepared to undertake and comply with these conditions? (Affirmative answer)

Very well, I shall make a probation order for two years in the terms I have indicated”.

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