A ‘PECULIAR’ set of circumstances resulted in a free man appearing in court last week despite the fact he was supposed to be in prison.

Matthew Arnott walked into Alloa Sheriff Court on Thursday, December 10, to face sentencing in relation to two charges.

They include one of obstructing police and one of assaulting police; both offences were committed in Alloa on December 13 last year.

When his case called, the 24-year-old moved from the public benches to the dock, and Sheriff Craig Harris said: “I can’t make heads or tails of this.

“I was expecting him to appear from custody.”

Elaborating on that point, solicitor Larissa Milligan explained that her client had previously been serving a custodial sentence for a separate matter.

Arnott had appealed against that sentence, and been liberated in the interim.

The appeal was heard and then refused on November 18, at which point Arnott should have been returned to custody as a warrant was granted.

However, Ms Milligan said: “The warrant hasn’t yet reached the police, and that’s why he’s coming to court via the front door.”

She added: “He will require to serve this sentence; the period he should serve is about two and a half months.”

Sheriff Harris noted that until the warrant was in the hands of the relevant authorities, Arnott was essentially in limbo in respect of that matter.

Ms Milligan said the situation was “quite awkward” procedurally, and Sheriff Harris said: “It is a peculiar circumstance.”

Having discussed that matter, attention then returned to the deferred sentencing matter calling at the Alloa court that day.

A background report had previously been called for, but was not available.

Ms Milligan said her client had failed to comply with the preparation of the report because of the decision regarding the appeal.

She said: “This decision has now been outstanding for about three weeks or so.

“He has buried his head in the sand for some time.”

Sheriff Harris gave Arnott credit for turning up to court, but was not satisfied with the explanation for the lack of report.

He said: “You have turned up today, knowing full well the prospect of remand is not just a possibility but perhaps likely.

“I am going to remand you today.

“I’m doing this because you didn’t turn up to your social work appointment.”

Arnott, of Bowhouse Gardens in Alloa, was then led to the cells by a GeoAmey custody officer, with his case set to call again on January 7.