Jordan Owens was found guilty of murdering Jamie Lee. The trial judge imposed a life sentence with a punishment part of 23 years. He was also convicted of the attempted murder of Joseph Lee and for this he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment, this sentence was to be served concurrently. The appellant did not appeal the sentence imposed for the attempted murder conviction.
The circumstances of the case were that there was conflict between two families. This feud resulted in a confrontation in Castlemilk at a nearby play park. The appellant attended with a gun and wearing a bulletproof vest. During the confrontation the appellant fired shots. One killed Jamie Lee as it damaged the vessels in his left leg.
The appellant then left the country and was hidden in a compartment of a lorry. He was later arrested in Lisbon on a European Arrest Warrant. As a result, the trial judge in sentencing stated that the appellant’s lifestyle, resourcefulness, and his ability to leave the country meant that he could be easily led astray by others. There was an inference that the murder was premediated, and the court has a duty to deter the use of firearms.
Counsel for the appellant accepted that a significant punishment part was to be imposed. However, it was submitted that in this case the sentence was excessive. This was argued on the basis that the murder was not a pre-planned assassination, and the cause of death suggested the appellant had been wickedly reckless, as opposed to having intention to kill. The position was that the appellant’s lifestyle did not indicate a significant degree of maturity. It was submitted that in line with HMA v Morton Eadie and others (2022), that the sentence could be deemed excessive.
In delivering the opinion of the court, Lord Matthews stated: “While there may be some force in the submission that the fact that the appellant drove a particular vehicle and that he had become a father at a young age did not necessarily point to his maturity, these were minor factors in the judge’s overall assessment, which included the highly significant features of the appellant’s arming himself with a gun, obtaining a bulletproof vest and thereafter having the wherewithal, albeit assisted, to leave the country, sustaining himself in the meantime.”
He stated: “In fixing the punishment part the trial judge had regard to the sentence of 12 years he imposed in relation to the charge of attempted murder. It is a reasonable inference that had the murder charge stood alone it would have attracted a punishment part of the order of 18 years. Neither that, nor the punishment part which in fact was imposed can be said to be excessive.”
In dealing with the authorities Lord Matthews concluded that the selected punishment part was in line with recent authority.
As a result, the appeal against sentence was refused.