HMA v Alan Baker 2019

Mr Baker has had a successful appeal to challenge the Sheriff imposing a supervised release order after he was sentenced to four years imprisonment in relation to two separate cases.

The High Court allowed the Appeal after it was lodged by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. The High Court agreed with the appellant’s argument that a Supervised Release Order can only be imposed when the sentence is a single term and less than four years, therefore the order was incompetent.

Mr Baker had over 100 previous criminal convictions with the conviction in question relating to an attempted robbery and a separate charge of a statutory breach of the peace. The facts were that Mr Baker pled guilty to a s38 offence which was thereafter deferred and called alongside an indictment relating to Mr Baker, where he had been convicted of assault and attempted robbery.

The Sheriff as a result of hearing both cases sentenced Mr Baker in relation to the section 38 to six months imprisonment to run consecutively to the three years and six months imprisonment with a 12-month supervised released order in relation to the petition matter. The appellant did not argue that the sentence was excessive, but that the supervised release order was simply incompetent.

The appeal court was agreed and therefore the order was revoked. Lord Justice Clerk stated in delivering the opinion of the Appeal Court: “Had the sheriff been sentencing the appellant only for the indictment offence, or had he imposed concurrent sentences in respect of both the indictment and complaint, there would have been no difficulty, because the appellant would have remained a short term prisoner, and the SRO would have taken effect on his release.” This order was therefore quashed.