HMA v DARYN MAXWELL & BARRY SMITH

At the High Court in Perth Lady Dorrian sentenced Daryn Maxwell to life imprisonment after he pled guilty to the murder of Reamonn Gormley on 1 February 2011 in Blantyre. The punishment part was set at 19 years. Barry Smith was given an extended sentence of eight years and three months.

On sentencing Lady Dorrian made the following statement in court

“This was a random and unprovoked attack on a member of the public for the purpose of committing robbery. The deceased was struck three times with a knife. One of those blows cut the carotid artery and caused him to bleed to death. 

Previous convictions show that your lifestyle is one in which violence is habitual. You have been convicted on indictment for assault to severe injury no fewer than three times. You had been on interim liberation from the last of these for a matter of only a few weeks.

The only sentence I can pass is one of life imprisonment but in doing so I must fix the punishment part, which is the period of time which must elapse before you are entitled to have your case remitted to the parole board.

In doing so I have taken account of the circumstances of the offence, the fact that you were on bail and your previous record, as well as the factors advanced in mitigation. I recognise that you have had a challenging upbringing and that you are sorry for what you have done but this remains a most serious offence, committed by someone with a predisposition to violence.

In the circumstances had it not been for the plea, the punishment part would have been 20 years. There was in my view some residual utility in the plea even although it was tendered at the very last minute and so I will reduce that period to one of 19 years. I will backdate the sentence to 7th February 2011.

Barry Smith

You also participated in the incident in which Reamonn Gormley met his death. In your case you have pled guilty to culpable homicide on the basis that you were part of a pre-arranged plan with the first accused to commit robbery with the use of a lethal weapon and with the knowledge that the execution of that plan carried with it a serious risk of injury. The use of the weapon by Maxwell was responsible for the death, but you also share that responsibility, albeit to a lesser degree. As part of the plan to commit robbery you took with you a chisel and along with Maxwell you confronted the deceased and his friend. I recognise that you did not directly inflict any violence. Your responsibility may lie in a lesser degree, and your previous convictions may be fewer and less serious than those of Maxwell.

Nevertheless the crime of culpable homicide remains a very serious one. You too had been released on bail shortly before this incident, in your case on 17th December 2010. I am satisfied from the terms of the Social Enquiry Report that in your case an extended sentence for the protection of the public would be appropriate.

In sentencing you however, I have to reflect that your culpability is not that of your co-accused and that you did not personally inflict any injury. Had it not been for the plea the sentence would have been one of 9 years detention.  There was, as I have remarked, a residual utility in the plea, even at the late stage when it was taken. I appreciate that until the position of the first accused was clarified no negotiations regarding your position could take place, but nevertheless no formal steps were taken to initiate such discussion.  In all the circumstances the sentence will be reduced to 8years and 3 months. The extension period will be 4 years.

The sentence will be backdated to 7th February 2011.