Criminal Appeal Court ‘unable to criticise’ 20-year punishment part imposed for murder

A man who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment after being found guilty of murder has failed in an appeal against sentence.

Paul Deeney was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of stabbing Mark McGauchie to death, but the Criminal Appeal Court said it was “unable to criticise the punishment part” imposed by the trial judge.

Lady Paton (pictured), Lady Smith and Lady Cosgrove heard that the appellant and the deceased were known to each other and both lived in Dunoon, where the appellant lived with his girlfriend.

Seemingly, some damage had been caused maliciously to the house which the appellant and his girlfriend occupied and on the evening of the crime libelled the appellant received information that the person responsible was the deceased.

Angered by that information, the appellant changed into dark clothing, took a knife from a drawer in the kitchen, and then proceeded to the house of the deceased, who was attacked in his own home.

The evidence established that the deceased died shortly thereafter while making an emergency 999 call from the telephone in the living room of his house.

He had suffered wounds, one of which was a stab wound which had penetrated an artery leading to his heart.

The appellant’s special defence of “self-defence” was rejected by the jury.

Refusing the appeal, the judges said the circumstances pointed to a “premeditated revenge attack with a knife” and noted that the appellant had “purposely travelled to and entered the deceased’s home armed with the knife”.

Delivering the opinion of the court, Lady Paton said: “That, on any view, was a very grave offence. If the appellant’s record of previous convictions is also taken into account, including as it does convictions for assault and robbery, we find ourselves unable to criticise the punishment part of 20 years selected by the trial judge. Other authorities are of course helpful, but never definitive in sentencing.”

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