Gemmell v HM Advocate

 

Summary

This judgment provides further guidance on sentencing discounts. 

 

Nature of case

This case is about sentencing discounts and what the correct level should be when a person pleads guilty to an offence. Following on from the decision in Du Plooy, judges looked at certain specific questions around sentence discounting – such as whether discounting applies to specific parts of different sentences – like penalty points on a driving licence. 

 

Facts

In this case, a bench of five judges considered seven different sentencing appeals at the same time. They were all about the level of sentencing discount to be applied to each sentence. The offences included housebreaking with intent to steal, assault, possession of a knife and careless driving. 

 

Issue

The issue in this case was what the proper approach to sentence discounting was, and whether it should apply to the 'public protection' element of a sentence (that is the part of the sentence that is not given for punishment). The judges also looked at the question of whether sentence discounting should apply to periods of disqualification from driving and to penalty points. 

 

Decision

In this case, the High Court decided that:

 

Gemmell v HM Advocate