HMA v David Dudgeon 2020

Mr Dudgeon who appealed against his custodial sentence has had his appeal refused. The appellant argued that his sentence of two years imprisonment, reduced from three years as he pled guilty at an early stage, was excessive.

However, the High Court did not agree with the appellant’s argument. The appellant pled guilty an offence under the ‘Terrorism Act 2000’ at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. The appellant argued that a headline sentence was excessive given the fact that the offence of downloading the information which was illegal was done in 2013 and 2015 the appellant had accessed them for some time. However, the Appeal Court concluded that the Sheriff has made the correct decision.

Lord Turnbull stated: “The offence to which the appellant pled guilty is one of a group of offences created by part 6 of the Terrorism Act 2000…The maximum sentence for an offence of this kind is 15 years’ imprisonment…The sentencing sheriff in the present case gave careful consideration to the appellant’s circumstances and balanced these against the nature of the material obtained by him. He took account of Parliament’s purpose and intention in creating the offence with which he was dealing and he assessed the seriousness of the particular conduct concerned in light of the sentencing regime provided for.” The sentence therefore remains in place.