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Murder Sentences Reduced on Appeal

HMA v Noonan and Brown 2019

Mr Noonan and Mr Brown who received life sentences in January 2019 after being found guilty of murder at the High Court in Edinburgh. However, they have now successfully appealed against sentence at the High Court of Judiciary and both men have had their sentences reduced. Both men had their appeals against sentence refused along with a third co accused.

The appellants argued the conviction did not reflect their young ages and the sentencing judge did not take consideration of this. Mr Noonan had a punishment element of his sentence of 21 years and Mr Brown and punishment element of 18 years. On appeal this was reduced to 18 years and 16 years respectively.

In conclusion Lord Carolway stated: “When considering lengthy punishment parts, comparative youth must play a significant part in the equation. The punishment parts selected are very high for convicted persons of this age, even against a backdrop of other offences and significant criminal records. As always in such cases, the court emphasises that it is not recommending or suggesting that any of the appellants should be released upon the expiry of these terms.” It was acknowledged that both men’s lack of maturity was a “significant factor.” The appeal against sentence was therefore successful.

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