Justice for Shaun Woodburn campaign reaches Crown Office

THe family of Shaun Woodburn have vowed to pursue a change in the law over the sentencing of juveniles '“ even if their own appeal is unsuccessful.

Wednesday, 22nd November 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:40 am
Former Bonnyrigg Rose player Shaun Woodburn
Former Bonnyrigg Rose player Shaun Woodburn

Mum Denise Syme was speaking after talks with the Crown Office left them “tentatively hopeful” in their campaign for justice.

Denise and Shaun’s dad, Kevin Woodburn, met with senior justice officials to question the four-year sentence handed to their son’s killer.

Young dad Shaun, 30, died after being attacked by a then 16-year-old schoolboy outside Gladstones bar in Leith in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

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“They were both very helpful and understand why we feel so strongly about this,” Denise told the Evening News after the meeting.

“We need to wait until next week to see what the next steps are. Even if the appeal is unsuccessful we will pursue a change in the law for the sentencing of juveniles as it is too low to deter crime.”

The teen punched dad-of-one Shaun, 30, who suffered massive brain injuries after falling and hitting his head on the pavement. He died later in hospital.

Nearly 70,000 people have signed a petition calling for justice for the former Bonnyrigg Rose star amid public outcry at the sentence.

His killer, who is now 17 and cannot be named, was part of a gang who went on a violent rampage across the Capital ­attacking strangers on Hogmanay.

This culminated in a street brawl outside Gladstones where Shaun had been celebrating New Year with friends including Hibs star Danny Swanson.

Denise said: “We were told that four to six years was the normal legal sentence in Scotland for culpable homicide by a 16-year-old.

“We said that the five [other] assaults [on the same night] seemed to be forgotten about and do want to go ahead with the appeal.

“The Advocate Depute is sending his report to the crown and it will then be sent to the Lord Advocate.

“We hope to hear by the middle of next week if we are being granted an appeal or not.”

Shaun’s killer was charged with murder but this was reduced to culpable homicide during the trial last month.

Co-accused Mohammed ­Zakariyah, 19, was ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to two assaults and a breach of the peace.

A third teenager was cleared of all charges during the trial.

The Crown Office has until December 5 to lodge an appeal against the killer’s sentence.

Kevin reportedly said after the Chambers Street talks: “They asked us to give our views on the sentence and we told him what we thought. I wanted him to know that a four-year sentence wasn’t acceptable.

“What does it say about us as people if we don’t speak out?”

“The fact that almost 70,000 people have signed the petition suggests that most people do not accept that justice has been done in this case. This is also about other innocent people whose lives have been ruined – not only by the crimes committed, but by soft justice.

“A one punch killing is one punch too many.

“I also wanted to make the point that at 16 in Scotland you can get married, you can join the Army and you can vote, so you’re classed as an adult and mature enough to make those decisions.

“But in the eyes of the law, at 16 when you kill someone you’re treated like a child.”