Murder pair have sentences reduced after appeal

Two people who were handed life sentences for murdering Tracy Walker in Lerwick in 2019 have had their sentences reduced on appeal.

Ross MacDougall, 33, had his sentence cut from 23 years down to 20 years while Dawn Smith, 29, had her sentence reduced from 20 years down to 17 years and two months.

The new sentences are the terms the pair must serve before becoming eligible for parole.

Lawyers for MacDougall and Smith told judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal earlier this month that the minimum jail terms imposed on the pair were too severe.

They told judges Lady Dorrian, Lord Pentland and Lord Turnbull that sentences given to people convicted for similar crimes weren’t as lengthy as the ones given to their clients.

In a written judgement issued at the court on Tuesday, the judges agreed with defence submissions on sentencing.

Lady Dorrian wrote: “We accept this was a case of extreme violence, and that it was aggravated by the purpose of robbery.

“Nevertheless we are persuaded that a sentence of more than 20 years for the first appellant was not merited, even having regard to his record.”

Lady Dorrian said that Smith’s sentence had been reduced to 17 years and two months to reflect a period on remand.

At a hearing held earlier this month, MacDougall’s advocate Brian McConnachie QC urged the judges to quash his client’s conviction, saying he had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Mr McConnachie said Lord Uist ignored evidence which could show that Smith alone killed Ms Walker.

However, the appeal judges rejected the submissions made about why the two accused should have their convictions quashed.

Lady Dorrian wrote: “We are unable to reach the conclusion that the misdirection in this case amounted to a miscarriage of justice.

“In these circumstances the appeal against conviction for the first appellant must fail.

“The appeal against conviction for the second appellant must be refused.”


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