Lord Justice Clerk
Lord Nimmo Smith
HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY
OPINION OF THE COURT
THE LORD JUSTICE CLERK
CONTINUED NOTE OF APPEAL AGAINST SENTENCE
JAMES JOSEPH HAMILL
HER MAJESTY'S ADVOCATE
Appellant: Burns, Q.C., Beckett; Gallen & Co
Respondent: Brodie, Q.C., A.D.; Crown Agent
21 April 1999
On 24 February 1998 the appellant was convicted, along with a co-accused James Burns Gemmill, of a charge that on various occasions between 1 November 1996 and 17 September 1997 at various addresses in Glasgow they were concerned in the supplying of heroin to another or others and, in particular, certain named individuals, in contravention of section 4(3)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
On 17 March 1999 this Court refused the appellant's appeal against conviction. We are now concerned solely with the matter of sentence.
The ground of appeal against sentence as originally framed states:
"In any case the length of the sentence imposed by the trial judge is excessive and inappropriate having regard to the appellant's record of previous convictions and personal circumstances".
When Mr Burns appeared today on behalf of the appellant and began to open his submissions it became plain that he was seeking to submit that the sentence imposed by the trial judge in the case of the appellant was excessive in comparison with that imposed on the co-accused Gemmill. He also indicated that it was his intention to submit that the trial judge had approached the sentencing of the appellant in a way which was not consistent with the way in which he had approached the position of the co-accused. In these circumstances it was plain that the existing ground of appeal was not adequate to cover any such arguments, and, of course, the trial judge has had no opportunity to comment on any such complaints. Mr Burns then invited this Court to allow him to submit supplementary grounds of appeal. Having regard to the considerable sentences which were imposed in this case and in all the circumstances, we decided that it was appropriate to allow him to do so.
He has now submitted two supplementary grounds of appeal which reflect the arguments which he had begun to submit today. We will invite the trial judge to provide a supplementary report dealing with those grounds of appeal. It will be seen from them and, in particular, from the second of the two new grounds, ground No 6, that attention is being focused on the sums of £150,000 and £1,500,000 which are linked to the names of the co-accused and the appellant respectively. To some extent the trial judge has given an indication to us of how those figures were arrived at by him. However, it would be of great assistance to this Court if he was able to give any additional information which he can as to how those figures were arrived at and how they were considered by him to relate to the co-accused and the appellant respectively.
This appeal against sentence will be continued to a date to be fixed and will be heard at a time when the supplementary report from the trial judge is available.