Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Spotlight on Sentencing


Scotland's criminal justice system has made itself look ridiculous again, if you ask me, with the news that  a violent thug was sent to prison for only 5 years for attacking and causing the death of a perfectly innocent man - John Morrison, the former leader of East Dunbartonshire Council.

The violent thug in question, Darren Murphy, sucker punched his victim for no reason and then lied about events afterwards to the police - in an effort to escape justice.

Five years in prison seems like an incredibly lenient sentence to me - for taking the life of another human being who was minding his own business and enjoying a Christmas night out with his friends.  

Darren Murphy jailed for killing John Morrison in Glasgow

Mr Morrison died after being found in Glasgow's Argyle Street

A man who killed a former leader of East Dunbartonshire Council with a single punch days before Christmas has been jailed for five years.

Darren Murphy, 25, hit John Morrison in the face in Dunlop Street, Glasgow, on 22 December 2012, causing him to fall over and hit his head.

Murphy then left the 50-year-old lawyer in the street to go to a nightclub.

He claimed to have acted in self defence but was convicted of culpable homicide at the High Court in Glasgow.

Jailing him, temporary judge Norman Ritchie QC told Murphy: "Fatefully John Morrison's journey home that night crossed the route taken by you and your friends.

"It is not entirely clear what caused the altercation, but it is pretty certain it was not much."

The judge said Murphy's decision to confront his victim was "without proper reason".

Murphy looked ashen-faced as he was lead handcuffed to the cells. Many of his friends and family broke down in tears.

Mr Morrison - the former Lib-Dem leader of East Dunbartonshire Council - was attacked in the early hours of 22 December 2012.

The lawyer had earlier been on a festive night out with colleagues from Glasgow City Council, where he worked as a legal manager.

CCTV footage


His friend and workmate Jennifer McMartin told the jury: "He was in really good form that night.

"He said he was in a good place in his life both professionally and personally having met his partner David."
A jury rejected Darren Murphy's claim that he acted in self defence

The court was shown CCTV of footage of Mr Morrison later in the city's Argyle Street, close to the St Enoch Centre.

Murphy and his friends were in the same area heading to the Arches Nightclub.

Murphy's friend Samantha Mulgrew claimed during the trial that Mr Morrison, of Milngavie, suddenly appeared next to her mumbling, which gave her a "fright".

For some reason, Murphy and his group then turned on the solicitor.

CCTV showed the group heading towards him before one pushed Mr Morrison as he appeared to be walking away.

Seconds later - and out of shot - 6ft 1in tall Murphy then punched Mr Morrison in the face.

Murphy then carried on to the nightclub.

Mr Morrison died in the street despite medics coming to his aid.

The ferocity of the blow had also broken his eye socket and nose.

'Proper punch'

Ms Mulgrew later told police that he had landed a "proper punch" on the ex-council leader.

But, during the trial, Murphy, of the city's Bridgeton area, denied he had punched Mr Morrison - instead claiming he had "hit him with a palm" to get him away.

Murphy insisted he had "felt threatened" by Mr Morrison that night.

He then claimed he did not know Mr Morrison was seriously hurt at the time - but when he later discovered he had died he "felt sick".

The court also heard Murphy demanded that friend Graeme Thomson did not tell police he had punched the lawyer.



Criminal Justice (30 December 2013)

I hope Scotland's criminal justice system delivers a harsh sentence on Darren Murphy (25) who has been convicted of culpable homicide following his violent and unprovoked attacked on another man John Morrison (50) - who was enjoying a Christmas night out in Glasgow last year. 

I'm not sure what the maximum sentence for culpable homicide is in Scotland, but the equivalent crime in England and Wales of 'manslaughter' can result in a life sentence - although this is rarely used. 

But I struggle to understand why more crimes involving manslaughter or culpable homicide are not handed down life sentences - because the risk of killing someone from with 'sucker punch' is very high, particularly if the person doing the punching is much bigger and stronger than the victim, as explained in this new report from the BBC. 

Not only was Mr Morrison walking away from his attacker, Darren Murphy then left him lying in the street to go off to a nightclub and then lied in court about what had happened - all of which suggests to me that he should go to prison for a very long time.  
I note that the advocate representing this scumbag in court was Donald Findlay QC - one of the most eminent and expensive lawyers in Scotland.

Darren Murphy guilty of killing John Morrison in Glasgow
Mr Morrison died after being found in Glasgow's Argyle Street

A man has been convicted of killing a former East Dunbartonshire council leader days before Christmas last year.

Darren Murphy, 25, punched 50-year-old John Morrison on the head in Dunlop Street, Glasgow, on 22 December, causing him to fall over.

Mr Morrison died after striking his head on the ground. Murphy left him in the street to go to a nightclub.

He claimed to have acted in self defence but was convicted of culpable homicide at the High Court in Glasgow.

Murphy's bail was continued at the High Court in Glasgow until sentencing in January.

Mr Morrison - the former Lib-Dem leader of East Dunbartonshire Council - was attacked in the early hours of 22 December last year.

The lawyer had earlier been on a festive night out with colleagues from Glasgow City Council, where he worked as a legal manager.

His friend and work-mate Jennifer McMartin told the jury: "He was in really good form that night.

"He said he was in a good place in his life both professionally and personally having met his partner David."

The court was shown CCTV of footage of Mr Morrison later in the city's Argyle Street close to the St Enoch Centre.

Murphy and his friends were in the same area heading to the Arches Nightclub.'Fright' claim

Friend Samantha Mulgrew claimed during the trial that Mr Morrison, of Milngavie, suddenly appeared next to her mumbling, which gave her a "fright".

For some reason, Murphy and his group then turned on the solicitor.

CCTV showed the group heading towards him before one pushed Mr Morrison as he appeared to be walking away.

Seconds later - and out of shot - 6ft 1in tall Murphy then punched Mr Morrison in the face.

“Your friends appeared to have tried to cover up for you and your lack of frankness continued in your evidence”Judge Norman Ritchie QC

Murphy then carried on to the nightclub.

Mr Morrison died in the street despite medics coming to his aid.

The ferocity of the blow had also broken his eye socket and nose.

Murphy's friend Ms Mulgrew later told police that he had landed a "proper punch" on the ex-council leader.

But, during the trial, Murphy, of the city's Bridgeton area, denied he had punched Mr Morrison - instead claiming he had "hit him with a palm" to get him away.

Murphy insisted he had "felt threatened" by Mr Morrison that night.

His QC Donald Findlay asked: "There was an implication that this was you being cowardly...that a fair reflection of events?" Murphy denied that.'Felt sick'

Murphy then claimed he did not know Mr Morrison was seriously hurt at the time - but when he later discovered he died he "felt sick".

Prosecutor Paul Kearney said the killer had lied during evidence adding: "You went back to sort out Mr Morrison and punched him." Murphy replied: "No."

The court also heard Murphy demanded friend Graeme Thomson did not say to police he had punched the lawyer.

Murphy told the jury: "Those words did not cross my mouth."

Murphy will sentenced next month after temporary judge Norman Ritchie QC adjourned the case for reports.

The judge told him: "May I say at this stage that it is plain your character before this was a good one - but I have not been impressed with your conduct since this time.

"Your friends appeared to have tried to cover up for you and your lack of frankness continued in your evidence."

First offender Murphy cried at the verdict while at least two female jurors also broke down.

A large group of Mr Morrison's family - including his partner of five years David Evans - were seen sobbing as the killer was convicted.

One said as she left the courtroom: "That's justice for John."