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Appeal Against Excessive Sentence Allowed

HMA v Rameez Hamid 2019

Mr Hamid has had a successful appeal against his sentence at the High Court of Justiciary. The appellant successfully argued that his custodial sentence of three years was excessive. This was reduced from a headline sentence of four years for a guilty plea. The Appeal Court ruled the sentence of two years and eight month was appropriate in the circumstances.

The court considered that the sentencing Judge did not take in to consideration certain mitigory factors such as the steps taken to repay the £51,000 embezzled. Mr Hamid pled guilty to embezzling £51,000 from customers’ accounts when he was employed as an employee of a large bank. The appellant was one of many people involved in the crime but was said to have played a major part. The appellant argued he was pressured to become involved with the illegal scheme.

The appellants legal team however argued that the headline sentence of four years was excessive. The appellant was a family man with no previous convictions who has been experiencing financial difficulties at the time in question.

He had at the time of sentencing made steps to sell his house in order to repay the sums embezzled. The appellant argued that a community-based disposal would have been appropriate given that the money was being repaid and that the appeallant had already served 13 months’ imprisonment.

The Appeal Court agreed that the fact that the appellant attempted to repay the money by selling his house was a mitigory factor and should have been taken in to account. Lord Menzies said: “This was a very serious offence. However, we do accept that the fact that the appellant has intended to take steps to recompense the victim of his crime and has taken steps to implement that intention does have some mitigatory effect.” The sentence was quashed and a headline sentence of 3 years and six months was imposed with the same discount applied therefore the appellant was sentenced to two years and eight months.

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