In a report of a case in Dundee Sheriff Court (16 July) you use the cliché that the accused, David Fletcher, “walked free from court”, apparently because he did not receive a custodial sentence.
Mr Fletcher is not “free”. He received a sentence of a community payback order with two years’ supervision and 200 hours unpaid work.
He will thus be under considerable constraint for the next two years.
If he is in breach of any conditions of the order he will be brought back to court and could receive a custodial sentence.
Even where an offender receives a fine he or she is not “free” as the court will retain a measure of control until the fine is paid.
The only non-custodial sentences about which it may truly be said that the offender leaves court “free” are an admonition or an absolute discharge.
Alastair L Stewart