An international security expert who attacked his wife begged a sheriff to grant him an absolute discharge so the conviction does not hamper his career.
Francis Dodson submitted supporting letters from the British Army and a US military general in a bid to avoid a criminal record.
Dodson, 61, from St Monans, Fife, admitted assaulting and injuring his wife by shouting, swearing and pushing her at their home on November 30 2022.
Solicitor Annika Jethwa, defending at Dundee Sheriff Court, said: “His wife is present in court – he is supporting her financially and emotionally.
“They have been married 38 years and have three grown-up children.
“He has brought his security industry licence – which runs out on 9 November – and certificates.
“He was in the British Army for 24 years and there is a letter of recommendation from them.
“There is also a letter of recommendation from a general in the US.
“Some of the items he has submitted are of an extremely sensitive nature and he is concerned about that but these give a flavour of the kind of security work he has been involved in.
“The current situation is that he is relying at present on his pension because of the personal situation with his wife and he wants to be there to support her.”
Conviction would affect complainer
The solicitor said: “In 38 years of marriage there were no issues whatsoever.”
She said personal issues arose from Mrs Dodson’s past which left her “struggling”.
“Clearly that had an effect on his behaviour that built up,” she said.
She added: “He has to find a job to support them.
“He works all over the world and has the highest level of security clearance, which would be affected by a conviction.
“It would affect the complainer in this case – his wife – and the children as well.
“His wife is here to support him. I am happy to go and get more evidence to support him.”
No absolute discharge at this stage
Sheriff Gregor Murray said: “I am not prepared to absolutely discharge him.
“I have some letters of reference which describe your client in a manner which is diametrically opposed to what he is here for.
“Domestic abuse is there to be dealt with by the court.
“It would take something exceptional to absolutely discharge him.
“I accept what he has done in his career and know a criminal record could affect what he does in future and that is something he has to live with.”
However, Sheriff Murray told Dodson he would continue consideration of the case and for the accused to provide more detail of the impact it would have on his career before deciding on whether he could be granted an absolute discharge.
An absolute discharge is a relatively rare sentence which leaves an accused person without a conviction showing on their record.
According to the Scottish Sentencing Council, reasons for granting one include “that the crime is very minor, that the offender has been previously of good character, or that the offender is very young or old.”