Scotland’s Lord Advocate has decided that the Crown should appeal against the sentence of a man who was spared jail for raping a 13-year-old girl, on the grounds it was “unduly lenient”.
Sean Hogg, 21, was sentenced earlier this month at the High Court in Glasgow to a community payback order of 270 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of rape.
Hogg, from Hamilton in South Lanarkshire, was also put under supervision and added to the sex offenders register for three years.
The sentence sparked outrage and calls to review guidelines which advise that custodial sentences should only be imposed on those under 25 if no other punishment is appropriate.
Kenny Donnelly, deputy Crown agent at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: “Sentence is quite rightly the domain of the independent judiciary.
“However, the law provides for some limited circumstances in which prosecutors have the right to appeal against sentences.
“The appeal court has set a high test to be satisfied for this to happen. The sentence must be unduly lenient, which means that it must be out with the range of sentences which the sentencing judge, taking account of all relevant factors, could reasonably have imposed.
“The question of Crown appeal against sentence in this case has been carefully considered and the decision to place this matter before the appeal court has been communicated to the complainer through her representative.”
The victim was 13 when Hogg, then 17, raped her in Dalkeith Country Park, Midlothian.
Speaking on her behalf, her solicitor Aamer Anwar said on Friday: “This morning we were advised that the Lord Advocate has decided that the Crown should appeal the sentence imposed upon Sean Hogg convicted of rape, on the grounds that it is ‘unduly lenient’.
“My client is relieved and grateful to the Lord Advocate – it has been nearly a month since Sean Hogg walked free from the High Court, ordered to carry out 270 hours of unpaid work after being convicted of rape.
“My client still does not understand why Hogg was allowed to get on with his life when he had ruined her, she wonders how many girls will think there is no point in reporting rape after seeing a rapist walk free.
“Whilst the police, prosecution and jury did its job, she feels that in the end she was failed by our justice system, but today once more she has some hope that justice will be done.”
Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Jamie Greene said: “The Lord Advocate is quite right to appeal this sentence, no doubt driven by the public outcry over the original sentence.
“The public were incredulous that a child rapist could ever be handed anything other than a custodial prison sentence.”