A PRIVATE schoolboy who shot at young children with a BB gun has had his sentence deferred to see how he copes with the pressure of exams.
Jack Hewitt, 17, fired at the youngsters as they enjoyed a break in the grounds of an Edinburgh primary school.
Hewitt, a pupil at £10,000-a-year George Watson’s College, pled guilty to the shooting and claimed he had been “letting off steam” after taking higher exams.
Yesterday, Sheriff Isobella McColl told Hewitt she would defer his sentence until July to see if he can keep out of trouble while dealing with the pressure of another set of impending exams.
But the father of one of the youngsters hurt by Hewitt branded the decision a “joke”.
In December last year, Hewitt pled guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to “culpably and recklessly discharging a firearm”.
Hewitt shot at and hit a group of young children at Gilmerton Primary School.
He fired around six plastic pellets from a BB pistol at the children.
Several children – who were all in primary four and five – were hit. One girl was struck on the forehead and another was hit just below the eye.
Speaking at yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Hewitt’s defence lawyer, Peter Winning, said he believed the pressure of exams had got to the teen.
Sheriff McColl said as there was no previous “bad behaviour” on Hewitt’s record it would be appropriate to defer the sentence.
“He has another period of pressure to see if he can deal with this without coming to the attention of the authorities,” she said.
The sheriff added that she agreed with Mr Winning about the pressure Hewitt was under but said: “At the end of the day I have to balance that against the seriousness of the offence.”
The father of one of the shot children, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “It’s a bit if a joke.
“At the end of the day he shouldn’t have done what he did.
“Why should he get to go away and sit his exams and get on? Kids could have had their lives seriously changed that day.
“I hope they do take into account how serious his actions were and what the outcome could have been.”
The earlier hearing was told that Hewitt had accepted responsibility for his actions.
The court heard that several children were left with red marks and bruising after they were hit in the arms, legs, stomach and head.
Officers visited Hewitt’s home, which overlooks the school.
Police said a tearful Hewitt admitted opening fire from the bathroom window but was unable to explain why he had done something “so stupid”.
Hewitt told police at the station: “That was me. I was just letting off some steam. I’ll never do it again.”