8 September 2015
This judgment considers the use of sentencing guidelines from England and Wales in Scottish courts.
This was an appeal against sentence in a case of causing death by dangerous driving. The appeal judges considered how to use sentencing guidelines from England and Wales in Scottish courts.
Ian Milligan was convicted on 23 April 2015 after a trial in the High Court, of an offence under section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, causing death by dangerous driving. On 28 May 2015, he was sentenced to six years imprisonment and disqualified from driving for a period of eight years and until he passed the extended test of competence to drive.
The judges in the appeal looked at whether the trial judge had made an error by deciding that this case fell under the second level of seriousness in the sentencing guidelines for England and Wales for dangerous driving and whether it should properly be categorised as falling within level three. As a result Mr Milligan argued that his sentence was excessive.
The appeal in this case was refused. The appeal judges did not think that Mr Milligan’s original sentence was too much.
The appeal judges discussed the use of sentencing guidelines from England and Wales. They said it is important to remember that England and Wales has a different legal system from Scotland and sentencing guidelines are designed for that system – Scotland is different.
They said that sentencing guidelines should not be applied in a very formulaic way – in other words judges should not think that a sentencing guideline provides a definite answer to what a sentence should be.
They decided that the trial judge was in a better position to decide what the sentence should be, because they had heard all the evidence in the case.