J. A. Clyde-Smith, Esq., Commissioner and Jurats Marett-Crosby and Blampied
The Attorney General
Stewart Duncan McGrogan
Sentencing by the Inferior Number of the Royal Court, following a guilty plea to the following charge:
1 count of:
Common assault (Count 1).
Details of Offence:
McGrogan alleged that another resident of the Shelter had stolen his mobile phone. Whilst intoxicated he took with him a knife (4½ inch pointed blade) which he concealed down the back of his trousers. His intention of taking the knife was to frighten and/or defend himself against either of the males that he was to confront whom he described as being "addicts". The first male denied stealing the phone but suggested that the second male had been responsible. McGrogan entered the room of the second male and threatened him with unspecified violence if his mobile phone was not returned within 2 days. Because the victim was being disrespectful McGrogan grabbed him by the throat and pulled the knife out which he had held by his side. He threatened to use the knife on the victim. The knife was visible to the victim. When interviewed by the Police he was co-operative and made admissions.
When the victim was spoken to by the police he declined to make a statement of complaint or to be examined by the FME. No injuries had been sustained.
The Crown's view was that all knife crime was to be viewed seriously but in the particular circumstances of this case it had been prepared to accept the guilty plea to common assault albeit at the top end of the range in respect of facts justifying an assault.
It was on the cusp between an assault and a grave and criminal assault.
Details of Mitigation:
Guilty plea; limited criminal record; agreed factual basis for sentencing. Long term underlying problem of alcohol addiction. Given the particular circumstances the Crown felt able to support the recommendations of the Social Enquiry Report for a 12 month Probation Order. Incident was of a short duration.
Accepted was a serious offence. The defendant relied upon mobile phone as an alarm as he had to get to work at 4 am. Once the phone was stolen he failed to wake up and lost employment. Spent time on remand. Suffered alcohol addiction and depression. Recognised he was at a crossroad and wished to change his life. Had offer of employment. Agreed the recommendation for Probation but suggested that it should be of a shorter duration.
3 convictions for 4 offences: common assault, disorderly conduct and harassment, and breach offences for non-custodial sentences previously imposed.
12 months' Probation Order.
Forfeiture and destruction of the knife sought.
Sentence and Observations of Court:
The defendant was to be sentenced for one charge of common assault. The Crown had accepted an agreed factual basis.
The Court summarised the facts. The defendant was an alcoholic and alcohol had blighted his life. Served the equivalent of 6 months and 13 days on remand. In mitigation there was a guilty plea, co-operation, a criminal record but not an extensive one and this was the first occasion that the defendant had appeared before the Royal Court. The defendant had been trying to get his life back on track and had employment but he lost it when his mobile phone was stolen as he used it as an alarm. He was at a crossroads in his life. He wanted to address his problems and was willing to comply with the conditions of a Probation Order. Probation had already seen a positive change in him. The Court agreed with the Crown's Conclusions. The defendant was given a warning that he had to comply with the conditions of the Probation Order. If he did not then he would find himself back before the Court.
J. C. Gollop, Esq., Crown Advocate.
Advocate J. F. Orchard for the Defendant.
1. The defendant is to be sentenced for one count of common assault, a plea accepted by the Crown on an agreed factual basis which the Crown Advocate has summarised. The assault took place at the Kensington Place Shelter in a row over the defendant's mobile phone which he was told the victim had taken. The defendant, who was intoxicated, threatened the victim with a knife.
2. The incident was of short duration and the victim was not prepared to make a complaint or to be examined by the Doctor. There is no evidence that he suffered any injury or was placed in fear by the defendant.
3. The defendant is addicted to alcohol which continues to blight his life and, taking into account the length of time he has already served or been in custody, which is the equivalent to a sentence of 6 months and 13 days, the Crown has moved, with some hesitation, for a 12 month Probation Order.
4. In terms of mitigation the defendant has pleaded guilty and he has been cooperative with the police. He has a record but it is not extensive and he has never appeared before this Court before. It is clear that the mobile phone was of great importance to the defendant; he had just obtained a new job and he needed the phone to act as an alarm to wake him up at 4 'o clock in the morning. As a consequence of the loss of the phone, he lost his job. The defendant says and acknowledges that he is at a crossroads in his life and he does now want to address his problems. He is willing to comply with all of the conditions and recommendations put forward by the Probation Department in their report and they have seen a positive change in him.
5. We are therefore going to grant the conclusions of the Crown and impose a 12 month Probation Order.
6. On Count 1 you are sentenced to a Probation Order of 12 months; it will be on the usual conditions but you must, of course, cooperate with the Probation Department, there must be no repetition of any kind of aggressive behaviour as happened on the last occasion and you must undertake all of the programmes and sessions that they advise you should undertake. And if you do not cooperate with the Probation Department I am afraid you will be back before us and another course will have to be taken.
7. We order the forfeiture and destruction of the knife.