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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Watson sentence: sheriff's statement
Sheriff Kathrine Mackie has sentenced former MSP Mike Watson to 16 months in prison for starting a fire at an Edinburgh hotel and endangering lives.

This is what she told the disgraced Labour peer when sentencing him at Edinburgh Sheriff Court:

Fire-raising is a most serious crime. By pleading guilty to this charge you have acknowledged that you intended to set on fire property at Prestonfield House Hotel whereby property was damaged and lives were endangered.

The potential for serious injury to guests and staff within the hotel, and for very significant damage to the property, was considerable.

That there was neither injury nor more significant damage was due entirely to the prompt and efficient actings of staff and the standard of safety equipment properly and readily available in the hotel.

No explanation has been offered for your actions. A large amount of alcohol appears to have been consumed, but that neither excuses nor fully explains your behaviour. This is not an offence which is committed recklessly.

I have heard much about your political career and the public office held by you, and while, in considering sentence, I have taken into account your previous virtually unblemished record I have to say that someone in public office ought to know how to conduct himself on all occasions.

Even giving the most favourable consideration to the mitigating factors founded on by your agent on your behalf, having regard to the deliberate and dangerous nature of your conduct and the assessment by the author of the Social Enquiry Report that you present a significant risk to re-offending and public safety, I believe a custodial sentence is the only appropriate disposal. No other disposal would in my view address the concern for public safety.

Applying a discount as I am obliged to do to reflect the fact that a plea of guilty was tendered without the need for trial I am going to impose a sentence of imprisonment of 20 months restricted to 16 months from today's date.




SEE ALSO
Fire-raising peer sent to prison
22 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Strip peer of title, say parties
02 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Peer's political career unravels
01 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Peer pleads guilty to fire charge
01 Sep 05 |  Scotland
In quotes: Lord Watson guilty
01 Sep 05 |  Scotland
MSP denies fire-raising charges
23 Aug 05 |  Scotland
MSP's fireraising trial date set
25 Jul 05 |  Scotland

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