Tasmin Glass v. Her Majesty’s Advocate [2019] HCJAC 90


Note of appeal against sentence:- On 3 May 2019 the appellant was unanimously convicted of culpable homicide. Her co-accused Steven Alexander Dickie and
Callum Davidson were both convicted of murder. On 30 May 2019, following the obtaining of Criminal Justice Social Work Reports, the trial judge imposed life sentences on Dickie and the Davidson with punishment parts of 23 years and 24 years respectively. On the same date the appellant was sentenced to 10 years detention. The appellant appealed against her sentence on the grounds it was excessive. The trial judge took account of a number of factors in assessing the appellant’s culpability:- (1) from the evidence it was clear that it was the appellant who had instigated the attack on the deceased; (2) the evidence highlighted a level of planning and deliberation on the appellant’s part and indicated that she had enlisted her two co-accused in the plan to attack the deceased; (3) the appellant knew that her co-accused had obtained weapons on the evening in question and drove them to the locus where they had planned to meet the deceased under the guise of the appellant meeting the deceased to discuss their future relationship; and (4) after the murder the appellant drove home and carried on as normal in front of her parents. The trial judge reported that it was the appellant who had been the primary influencer in the plan to carry out the attack on the deceased and had it not been for her involvement it would never have happened. On behalf of the appellant it was submitted that the trial judge had been wrong to assert in his report to the court that the appellant must have foreseen that the deceased would be assaulted with bladed weapons. It was submitted that it could not be inferred that the appellant knew that her co-accused had bladed weapons. It was submitted that given, on the evidence, it appeared the appellant had been the instigator of the attack, for them to convict her of culpable homicide rather than murder it would appear that the jury were not satisfied that the appellant had been aware of the presence of bladed weapons because, if she had, then surely the jury would have convicted her of murder. It was further submitted that, having regard to her personal circumstances, the period of detention imposed was excessive that period equating to nearly 11 years given the period she had spent on remand. In relation to the appellant’s conduct after the event which had been described as “chilling” by the trial judge that could only properly be levelled at the appellant if she had been aware of the nature of the attack upon the deceased. It was further submitted on the appellant’s behalf that she was only aged 19 at the time of the offence and lived with her parents. Whilst she was described as quite immature she had done well at school and had a positive family background and had no previous convictions and the author of the CJSWR thought it unlikely that she would reoffend. Here the court refused the appeal. The court observed that the appellant was in the company of her co-accused when they collected their weapons. In addition, it had been conceded on behalf of the appellant at the trial in a section 97A submission that the appellant was aware that her co-accused had collected a baseball bat for the purpose of using it in the assault on the deceased and that a baseball bat was a lethal weapon. As such, regardless of the view the jury took regarding the appellant’s knowledge of the possession by her co-accused of bladed weapons, the jury must have reached their verdict on the basis that the appellant was a party to a plan which involved an assault on the deceased with a potentially lethal weapon, namely, a baseball bat. The court agreed with the trial judge in his assessment of what was a serious offence with a number of aggravating features impacting upon the appellant’s culpability and considered that it could not be said that a period of detention equating to around 11 years was excessive regardless of her age and personal circumstances.

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