An appeal lodged by the Crown following the granting of an absolute discharge has been upheld.

The Sheriff Appeal Court heard that Eleanor McTaggart, was found guilty of the theft of £207.86, being the value of fencing delivered to and erected at her home address. The theft was committed whilst Ms McTaggart was employed by the complainers – a building supplies company.

The Appeal Court held that the original trial Sheriff had placed too much weight on Ms McTaggarts personal circumstances: “While the consequences of a conviction may well be serious for the respondent in terms of both her current employment and future employment prospects, the sheriff has placed too much weight on these factors, particularly bearing in mind the respondent’s previous convictions for theft.”

“There require to be exceptional circumstances before a court may order absolute discharge…..there are no exceptional circumstances justifying the sheriff imposing the disposal he did.”

The decision of the trial Sheriff was quashed by the Appeal Court and Ms McTaggart was convicted of the charge of theft. Ms McTaggart received a Community Payback Order.