HMA v JOSEPH MULLEN

At the High Court in Glasgow Lord Matthews sentenced Joseph Mullen to life imprisonment after he pled guilty to murdering Gary Wallace in Fife on 18th March 2012. The punishment part of the sentence was set at 14 years.

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

“Joseph Mullen, as you know, you have pleaded guilty to the charge of murder, a charge for which the only penalty is imprisonment for life. As you are no doubt also aware, I have to determine a period of time which must pass before you will be able to apply for parole, a period known as the punishment part of your sentence. When and indeed if in due course you are thereafter released on parole will be a matter for others to decide.

I have listened carefully to the narrative of events and to what has been said by Mr Findlay on your behalf. I have also had regard to information I have been given about the effects of what you did on Mr Wallace’s family. It is obvious that the consequences of what you did have caused and will cause them anguish for the rest of their lives. No words of mine and no sentence which I pass can ever compensate them in any way for what has occurred or bring their loved one back.  I can only compare and contrast their actions in allowing his organs to prolong and enrich life with your actions in destroying it.

It is plain that a number of fateful choices were made that night by a number of individuals. Had different choices been made events would have taken a different turn and we would not have been here. At the end of the day, however, the ultimate choice to take up the baseball bat and use it was yours as you have recognised in terms of your plea.

I have decided to back date the life sentence which I am going to pass to 19 March 2012. In view of all of the circumstances, including the brutal nature of what you did and your previous convictions I would have fixed the punishment part at 16 years. As it is, in recognition of the stage at which you intimated your intention to plead guilty the period will be one of 14 years”.