Police have slammed the successful appeal of a Perth man who was jailed for nearly two years for spitting in the face of a female officer.
It happened in December, when the region was under strict level three pandemic restrictions.
Sheriff Alistair Carmichael told the 31-year-old, although there was no indication he had the virus, it was still a serious offence and warranted a “stiff” sentence.
An appeal court judge has now declared the sentence “excessive” and has cut Dewar’s prison term by more than half.
David Hamilton, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation – which represents officers – said: “This is an appalling message that has been sent out by Lord Pentland.
“The Scottish Police Federation fought hard to get the justice system to recognise that such assaults on Police Officers are abhorrent and we believe Sheriff Carmichael was fully justified in his original sentencing.
“It’s yet another kick in the teeth for police officers whose sacrifices and efforts have been so unfairly overlooked this last year.”
In his findings, Lord Pentland said: “We consider that the sheriff was undoubtedly right to take a serious view of the appellant’s conduct in assaulting a police officer by spitting at her in the face at close range.
“As the sheriff aptly observes, such conduct is all the more deplorable in the course of the pandemic.
“Moreover, the appellant was drunk at the time.”
However, he said the sentence was excessive when compared to a similar case at Inverness Sheriff Court, where Iain Lindsay was handed a four-month sentence for spitting on two police officers.
“Like the appellant in that case, the present appellant (Dewar) has a disgraceful record of previous offending,” said Lord Pentland.
“We do not consider it appropriate or helpful to seek to draw fine distinctions between the respective records of the two offenders.”
However, he pointed out Dewar’s jail time was more than twice Lindsay’s sentence.
Lord Pentland agreed to quash the current sentence and instead, jailed Dewar for 10 months.
Perth Sheriff Court heard in February police were called to deal with 31-year-old Dewar, after several people reported him drunkenly staggering around.
He “tensed up” when officers tried to take him home.
He refused to get in the police car and launched a volley of racially abusive names at two officers as they tried to arrest him, the court was told.
The court in Perth heard Dewar, who has multiple convictions for violence, including assault and robbery, had very little recollection of the incident.