HMA v Gursel Duzgun

Mr Duzgun has his appeal against conviction refused after he claimed he was a victim of a miscarriage of justice because she stated he was suffering a mental disorder at the time of the offence and his solicitor did not investigate this. The appellant pled guilty to a serious assault at Edinburgh Sheriff court at a first diet.

However, the Appeal Court refused the appeal on the basis that clear instructions were given to his solicitor not to look in to mental responsibility. The offence took place in 2014 and the complainer was injury with scissors numerus times to his injury. The crown was first to instruct a psychiatric report due to the accused mental state in 2014. Two reports in 2014 had concluded that he was unfit to stand trial however it was concluded that after treatment he could be fit to stand trial in the coming months. Mr Duzgun pled guilty in July 2014 at the point he was receiving treatment and was alleged to have been doing better. However, the man has recently appealed against the conviction stating that he was not criminally responsible for the act and his solicitor should have instructed their own psychiatrists to look in to his mental state at the time of the offence which would have given him a special defence under s51A. However, his solicitor has advised the court this has been discussed with the appellant and he make it clear he wanted no further medical report and he wanted the case over with quickly.

The High court made it clear that a guilty plea could only be revoked in “exceptional circumstances.” The High Court concluded in relation to this appeal: “The plea of guilty was not tendered by mistake, nor was it tendered without the authority of the appellant. On the contrary, the appellant’s law agent reports, first, that he was, as a result of several meaningful consultations with the appellant in the lead up to the plea, ‘wholly satisfied that [the appellant] understood the nature of the allegation and the evidence against him and he was able to provide … coherent and comprehensive instructions in relation to the evidence’. There is no material before the court to contradict that statement.” It was clear that this appeal therefore must fail.