Callum Davidson v. Her Majesty’s Advocate [2019] HCJAC 84


Note of appeal against sentence:- On 3 May 2019 the appellant was convicted after trial of a charge of murder. The appellant’s co-accused, Steven Alexander Dickie, was also convicted of the charge of murder. The appellant’s other co-accused, Tasmin Glass, was unanimously convicted of culpable homicide. On 30 May 2019, following the obtaining of Criminal Justice Social Work Reports, the trial judge imposed life sentences on Dickie and the appellant with a punishment part of 23 years for Dickie and 24 years for the appellant. The appellant appealed against the punishment part selected it being contended that it was excessive. It was conceded on behalf of the appellant that, in light of the particular the circumstances of the offence, including the level of violence exhibited towards the deceased, a significant punishment part was merited. It was submitted that whilst the appellant was not a youth he was relatively young (23 years of age at the date of the offence) and will be 48 before he can be considered for release on licence. The punishment part selected in the present case was significantly higher than the 16 years minimum for murder using a knife referred to in HMA v Boyle 2010 JC 66 at paragraph 16. It was submitted on behalf of the appellant that there were positive elements to his personal circumstances in that he had good employment history and had a steady relationship with his partner and their daughter who was born after the offence. In addition, it was submitted that the trial judge had placed too much emphasis on the apparent lack of remorse expressed to the author of the CJSWR in that the appellant had provided a position at trial which had been rejected by the jury and that remained his position to the author of the Report and to have departed from that may also have attracted criticism. It was submitted that whilst the appellant had a number of previous convictions they largely related to Road Traffic Act contraventions and his only custodial sentence had been 6 months imprisonment. Here the court refused the appeal. The court stated that examining the punishment parts imposed for other cases is of limited assistance in determining an appropriate punishment part. The court considered that the present case was an example of the most serious cases of murder and agreed with the trial judge who had described the appellant’s culpability at the high end of the spectrum. The court described the murder as “premeditated and coordinated” and the violence used as “sustained and prolonged” which involved the deceased sustaining a fractured jaw, a minimum of 14 stab wounds, a further six incised wounds over the back of the head and the rear of the upper neck, his spinal cord was severed in two places and his body was left by his car which was set alight. In addition, the court noted that the appellant had expressed no victim empathy or remorse. 

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