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Successful Appeal Against Murder Sentence

HMA v LIAM HAY 2020

Mr Hay who was convicted of murder, has had a successful appeal against sentence. Mr Hay was sentenced to life imprisonment with a punishment element of 19 years. This was reduced by one year for the guilty plea. This has been reduced on appeal after his legal team successfully argued that due to him being only 20 years old at the time the murder took place the sentence was excessive, due to his young age. It was also argued that Mr Hay could be rehabilitated.

Mr Hay pled guilty to murder at Peterhead Sheriff Court in late 2019. Mr Hay attacked the victim with a knife. In sentencing Mr Hay the judge had account of a psychiatric report that showed the appellant was showing psychotic symptoms. However, the appellant took the matter to the appeal court. The appellant submitted he was capable of rehabilitation and this was not taken into account during sentencing. At the Appeal Court Lady Dorrain concluding the appeal stated: “It appears therefore, that the appropriate punishment part was selected by considering that which would be appropriate for an adult and reducing it to take account of the youth of the appellant.

As the authorities show, the problem with this approach is that it is unlikely truly to reflect the fact that the exercise of sentencing a child or young person is different from that of an adult.” Taking all the circumstances of the case in to account the Appeal Court agreed with the appellant’s arguments and the punishment part of the sentence was reduced to 16 years.

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