Highlands & Islands

Fort William bomb hoax teen's sentence quashed

Jack Salter Image copyright Northpix
Image caption Jack Salter was distressed by his father's death at the time of the offence, appeal judges heard

A teenager who caused the evacuation of 32 properties at a block of flats in Fort William after building a hoax bomb has had his sentence quashed.

Jack Salter, 18, posted an image of the "bomb" on Facebook.

Army ordnance experts were called and found that Salter's creation was not a viable explosive, but looked realistic to the untrained eye.

Salter was order to be detained for 16 months but appeal judges said they were was an alternative to custody.

He has now been placed under supervision on a three-year community payback order and told to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

In June, Salter, of Fort William, was ordered to be detained when he appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court.

Lawyers acting for him challenged the imposition of the detention and judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh have overturned it.

College place

Judge Lord Drummond Young, who heard the appeal with Lady Clark of Calton, said they were satisfied that there was an alternative to custody in his case.

Lord Drummond Young said it was clearly a serious incident, saying the experience "must have been very alarming for those in the neighbourhood".

But the appeal judges said they considered that there were special circumstances in the case where Salter had suffered "an acute grief reaction" to the death of his father.

His father had died in "very distressing circumstances" from a drugs overdose in the presence of Salter shortly before the incident.

Lord Drummond Young said it seemed that Salter's reaction to his father's death had caused a difficult period for him when he committed a number of offences.

Fred Mackintosh, counsel for Salter, told the court that the incident had been extremely disruptive and frightening but appeared to be largely out of character.

He said that following his liberation ahead of the appeal hearing he had been offered work and secured a college place.

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