A SHERIFF has criticised prosecutors after a Rosyth man who viciously assaulted his partner avoided a jail sentence.

Matthew John, 42, of Whinnyburn Place, appeared for sentencing at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

He previously admitted that on January 18, at his home, he assaulted his partner by pushing her down stairs and repeatedly punched her on the face and body to her injury.

Sheriff Craig McSherry was appalled when he saw photographs of the injuries sustained by the woman.

He said he could not understand why the Crown prosecuted the case under summary and not solemn procedure, where John could have been jailed for five years if it came before a sheriff and jury.

“It’s outrageous,” he said of that decision, having viewed photographs of the victim’s injuries.

“This woman was seriously assaulted, pushed down stairs, punched repeatedly, suffered two black eyes. He could have been facing a jail sentence of five years.”

Defence solicitor Elaine Buist said: “He’s well aware of the situation he finds himself in.”

In a summary case, heard by a sheriff only, the maximum jail sentence is 12 months.

Sheriff McSherry told John it had been his intention to impose a jail term but as he had no previous offences for domestic abuse, he would impose an alternative sentence.

He imposed a community payback order with 300 hours of unpaid work and 12 months’ supervision.

John was also ordered to pay the victim £1,000 compensation.