HMA V JOHN GRAY NEILSON

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Uist imposed an order for lifelong restriction on John Gray Neilson after he pled guilty to one charge of assault and robbery and one charge of assault and attempted robbery.

On sentencing Lord Uist made the following statement in court:

"You pleaded guilty on 2 February this year, the second day of your trial at Aberdeen High Court, to a charge of assaulting a man to his injury and to the danger of his life and robbery, and also to assaulting a woman and attempting to rob her. These crimes were committed on 9 February 2011in the woman’s house, where you and an accomplice had gone, both armed with knives and intent on obtaining money. It is a matter of good fortune for both you and the man whom you stabbed in the chest that the stabbing did not inflict much more serious injury on him than it did.


You are now almost 29 years old. You have a deplorable criminal record dating from October 1999, mainly for crimes of dishonesty, but also for crimes of violence. In April 2002 you were sentenced to 4 months imprisonment for assault to injury. On 1 May 2007 you were sentenced in the High Court for two charges of assault and attempted robbery to 6 years imprisonment from 1 January 2007, with an extension period of 5 years. You were released on licence from that sentence on 31 December 2010, having served only 3 years in prison. Less than 6 weeks later you committed the crimes for which you now appear in this court. You have been assessed by an accredited risk assessor as posing a high risk to the safety of the public at large if at liberty. In these circumstances I am satisfied that the risk criteria are met in your case and I therefore make an order for lifelong restriction in respect of you. That order constitutes a sentence of imprisonment for an indefinite period. I must also fix the punishment part of your sentence, being the period which you must spend in full in prison before you can apply to be released on licence. Had I been imposing a fixed sentence in your case I would, in light of your record and the circumstances of the crimes to which you pleaded guilty, have imposed a sentence of 10 years imprisonment, which would have entitled you to apply to be released on licence after having served 5 years in prison. I therefore fix the punishment part of your sentence at 5 years. I should make clear that it does not automatically follow that you will be released once you have served 5 years in prison: you will be released only when the Parole Board considers that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you continue to be held in prison. The sentence which I have just imposed applies to charges 1 and 2 taken together.


It is also open to me to make an order that you be returned to prison to serve the whole or part of the remainder of the sentence imposed on you on 1 May 2007. In view of the fact that your licence was revoked on 25 February 2011 and that you have been in prison since then I shall not make such an order, but the sentence which I have just imposed will run from today’s date".

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