Gordon v HM Advocate

Sentencing – Culpable homicide – 'Mercy killing'. High Court of Justiciary: Allowing an appeal by an appellant who pled guilty to culpable homicide, having intentionally smothered his wife, motivated by a wish to spare her further suffering, the advocate depute having accepted that the appellant's ability to determine or control his actings was substantially impaired by an abnormality of mind, and who was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months' imprisonment, discounted from 5 years because of his offer to plead guilty, the court held that the trial judge had erred in his undue concentration on the nature of the act as a measure of culpability at the expense of an appropriate regard to the abnormal state of mind of the actor at the relevant time, and in determining that only a custodial sentence was appropriate in the appellant's case: it quashed the sentence imposed by the trial judge and substituted an admonition.

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