A FATHER has hit out after a former private schoolboy who shot at primary school children with a BB gun was sentenced to community service.
A sheriff said Jack Hewitt had an “uncommon fascination” with firearms and had committed a serious crime when he fired at the children in Edinburgh in 2013.
But, after taking into account his previously clean record and guilty plea, the judge ordered the 18-year-old to serve 200 hours’ community service.
The father of one of the children hit by Hewitt’s BB pellets, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed the sentence was “ridiculous”.
He claimed Hewitt was getting off lightly because he had attended £10,000-a-year George Watson’s College in the city.
Hewitt, who admitted culpably and recklessly discharging a firearm, had his sentence twice deferred – once to finish his school exams and the second to go on a charity trip to Fiji.
In May 2013, Hewitt took pot-shots from a window of his parents’ home in Gilmerton at children aged eight-10 playing in the grounds of the neighbouring primary.
The BBs hit faces, limbs, stomachs and heads – and one pellet narrowly missed a child’s eye.
A tearful Hewitt told police officers he had been “letting off steam” before his exams.
Sheriff Isobella McColl yesterday (THu) ordered Hewitt to complete his community service over the next nine months.
“I would have given you the maximum of 300 hours but because you pled guilty it will be 200 hours.”
She said Hewitt had “an uncommon fascination, like other young people, with firearms”.
After hearing a plea from Hewitt’s defence lawyer for him to be admonished – the judicial equivalent of a verbal warning – the sheriff replied: “Admonishment is impossible due to the seriousness of the offence.”
The father of one of children said Hewitt should have been jailed, despite his youth and clean record.
He said: “This young man was shooting at children. If he had hit one of them in the eye it could have been life-changing for them.
“He went to a private school and I think that is the reason why he got off lightly. Anyone else would have been sentenced a long time ago and not been let off to go to Fiji.
“This was a chance to make a point about firearms but they have just let this person walk – it’s ridiculous.
“He must have fired that gun loads of times which shows he had no remorse after hitting the first child.
“Since this happened we have been keeping an eye on similar cases and people have ended up in jail, which should have happened in this instance.”
Outside court, Hewitt said: “I don’t want to speak.”
Scottish Conservatives previously strongly criticised the delays in sentencing Hewitt. Yesterday a spokesman said: “We feel that the sentence is appropriate.”