‘Com­ply.. or you’ll spend Christ­mas in jail’

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Brave Teen - Court re­porter

A Gart­cosh man has nar­rowly avoided a prison sen­tence after fail­ing to en­gage with a com­mu­nity pay­back or­der.

Holms Place res­i­dent Scott Forsyth, 20, was given the or­der for forc­ing en­try into the home of a 70-year-old woman in 2016 and ter­ri­fy­ing the pen­sioner by act­ing ag­gres­sively to her.

He resur­faced at Air­drie Sher­iff Court last week to learn his fate for fail­ing to com­ply with its or­ders.

His de­fence so­lic­i­tor Rowan Myles told the court:“The re­port here states there has been a down­turn in en­gage­ment.

“When he re­ceived the or­der I told him he was as close to prison as one could be.

“I don’t think he has any com­pre­hen­sion of how lux­u­ri­ous the po­si­tion he’s in is.

“I have some clients who have no place to turn, yet he has gen­er­a­tions of his fam­ily here in court to­day.

“The left side of this court­room is filled with sup­port­ive mem­bers of his fam­ily. The right side is also filled with sup­port­ive mem­bers of his fam­ily.

“Yet the man in the dock seems to have just given up.

“You’re aware of the tragedy that has ex­isted in his life so far.

“The truth is, if you de­cided to jail him to­day the sen­tence would prob­a­bly be in ex­cess of 12 months.

“I told him that ear­lier and he be­came emo­tional at the thought.”

Mr Myles con­tin­ued:“There has been a com­plete loss of mo­ti­va­tion from this young man.

“The re­port that kept him out of prison last time noted that the sit­u­a­tion he was in seemed to be‘wa­ter off a duck’s back’for him.

“That’s wrong, as he’d be very vul­ner­a­ble in a prison set­ting.

“If you’re minded to give him an­other op­por­tu­nity, he has as­sured me that there won’t be an­other oc­ca­sion such as this where I’m stand­ing be­fore you ex­plain­ing his at­ti­tude.”

Forsyth is cur­rently un­der more than one re­stric­tion of lib­erty or­der, which his lawyer al­luded to as he asked Sher­iff Derek O’Caroll:“I in­vite you to con­tinue this or­der with an­other re­view and leave his other mat­ters hang­ing over him.

“Hope­fully that is suf­fi­cient as he knows there’s a sub­stan­tial pe­riod of cus­tody avail­able should he not en­gage.”

Ad­dress­ing Forsyth, Sher­iff O’Car­roll said:“Your so­lic­i­tor has elo­quently de­scribed your sit­u­a­tion.

“You have a large num­ber of fam­ily mem­bers here and that is to your ad­van­tage.

“An­other ad­van­tage is your choice of so­lic­i­tor who has put for­ward a very well-judged ar­gu­ment.

“I was minded to send you to prison but I am pre­pared to give you an op­por­tu­nity.

“You’ll un­der­stand though, there is only one pun­ish­ment that doesn’t re­quire your co-op­er­a­tion.

“I’ll fix a fur­ther re­view of this or­der on De­cem­ber 4, when you’ll ap­pear back be­fore me.

“I’ll have a fur­ther re­port to see how well you are com­ply­ing with it. If you haven’t been [com­ply­ing], you’ll be spend­ing Christ­mas in jail.”

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