True sentence

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.

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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

Albany Road