About Sentencing Video

Every day in courtrooms across Scotland, people are sentenced for crimes they have committed. This short video helps to explain how judges decide what these sentences should be.


Before watching the video, you can test your current knowledge on sentencing practice by taking our quiz.



What sentence would you give Jack?


After watching the video and hearing about Jack’s case, what sentence would you give him, if you were the sheriff? The video explains that Jack pled guilty to several crimes. These crimes are:



1. Threatening or abusive behaviour

This is behaviour which is likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm. Jack was abusive and threatening in his behaviour and caused alarm when he stumbled into people on the dance floor of the nightclub and swore at them

2. Assault to injury

This is an intentional physical attack on another person whether or not it causes injury to their body. Jack caused injury when he punched the door steward at the nightclub. 


What sentence would you give Jack if you were the Sheriff? Find out what happened in this scenario.


An admonition is where a person is warned not to offend again, and the crime is recorded on their criminal record. Because Jack assaulted his victim and caused her injury, it is unlikely that a sheriff would admonish him and give no sentence. 

£450 fine made up of a £250 compensation order and £200 fine

It is likely that, because Jack has kept his job and has a steady income, a sheriff would fine him and include a compensation order to repay his victim for the harm he caused. 

Community Payback Order with 65 hours of unpaid work in the community

A sheriff might sentence Jack to a Community Payback Order with unpaid work in the community, especially if Jack had been unable to pay a fine. However, the sheriff may feel this is too severe a sentence for the following reasons: Jack pled guilty to the charge; he is young; he has never been in trouble before with the police; he is sorry for what he did. 

Four months imprisonment in a young offenders’ institution

Prison is the most severe sentence and is normally only used if there is no other way of dealing with an offender. It is likely a sheriff would find another way of dealing with Jack


Jack's case is fictional


Jack’s case is fictional and the sentence selected above is one likely to have been given by a sheriff. However, every case is unique and no case will be exactly like Jack’s. A sheriff will take the particular factors of each individual case into account when deciding a sentence.


Video Script

If you are interested in reading the script of the About Sentencing video featuring Jack's story, it is available here.




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