Glasgow & West Scotland

Ian Taylor has hammer murder conviction quashed

Flats in Milton
Image caption Brian Sharp died at his home in the Milton area of Glasgow

A man jailed for murdering a mentally ill man in a hammer attack has had his conviction quashed after it was found the trial judge misdirected the jury.

Ian Taylor, 38, and co-accused Tracey Hastie, 41, were ordered to serve a minimum of 18 years for killing Brian Sharp, 38, in Glasgow in 2006.

Taylor's lawyers claimed the jury was not given any direction about the use of incriminating hearsay evidence.

Appeal judges ruled "a miscarriage of justice" and quashed the conviction.

During their trial, the High Court and Glasgow heard that Taylor and Hastie met at an addiction rehabilitation centre in the city.

Victim stabbed

In October 2006, the pair had been drinking with Mr Sharp at his home in the city's Milton area when they turned on him, the jury was told.

The court heard that they taped their victim to a chair, beat him with a hammer at least 80 times, and then stabbed him in the chest with a fork.

Both denied the murder, claiming the other had carried out the attack.

A jury convicted them both and trial judge Lord Brailsford ordered them to serve a minimum of 18 years before being eligible for parole.

Image caption Tracey Hastie was jailed for life along with co-accused Ian Taylor

Taylor's legal team lodged an appeal on the grounds that the jury was misdirected by the judge.

They said that during the trial a number of witnesses gave evidence about statements made by Taylor's co-accused, Hastie, in their presence.

When Lord Brailsford came to direct the jury, he omitted to give any direction as to the use that could be made of the hearsay evidence.

Taylor's defence team argued that he failed to tell the jury that this evidence could not be used to prove the case against their client.

In giving their judgement, Lord Osborne, sitting with Lord Eassie and Lord Nimmo Smith, said the Crown was not in a position to argue that the misdirection had not resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

Lord Osborne said that during the course of the trial, Lord Brailsford said he was going to have to give a direction about the admissibility of statements against Taylor in his charge to the jury, but he never did.

He added: "In all these circumstances, we have concluded, with reluctance, that the misdirection has been productive of a miscarriage of justice and that it is necessary to quash the appellants conviction.

"It would have been a simple matter for the trial judge to give the normal directions which would have been appropriate in all the circumstances of the case, but unfortunately, for whatever reason, he did not do so."

Lord Osborne said the evidence from the three witnesses had to be recognised as prominent, of a significant nature and potentially incriminatory of Mr Taylor.

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