Rapist ‘too young for jail’ appeals conviction after attacking teen

A 21-year-old man who was found guilty of raping a 13-year-old girl but spared from jail is now set to appeal his conviction. Sean Hogg was deemed too young to be jailed under new sentencing guidelines for those under 25. 

Instead of being thrown in jail, Hogg was given 270 hours of unpaid work, sparking widespread anger. Harry Potter author JK Rowling is among those hitting out at the ruling.

Hogg, who was 17 when he committed attacks in Dalkeith Country Park in Midlothian in 2018, has instructed his legal team to challenge his conviction.

A hearing is set to take place at a later date after an appeal was lodged at the High Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh.

Hogg had been sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow after he was found guilty of rape. But Judge Lord Lake said he was required to take the man’s age into account.

The brave victim, who is anonymous to protect her identity, said she thought she could finally be happy with the perpetrator in jail but said “the system failed” her after the judge’s decision.

She has also spoken out about the massive impact the rape and the perpetrator’s sentence have had on her. She said she has been diagnosed with PTSD, panic attacks, and has self-harmed on a daily basis. She has also suffered from anxiety, nightmares, and relationship problems.

The girl said in a statement earlier this week: “The day my grandmother told me Sean Hogg had been found guilty of rape I thought there may be a chance of being happy again. I knew he was going to go to jail.

“I felt glad I reported it as I felt he needed to pay for what he had done.

“Why is it ok to rape anyone and not go to jail? Why was he allowed to get on with his life when he’s clearly ruined mine? Did the judge not bother reading the ordeal I had suffered?

“Now it makes me think why did I even bother reporting the rape in the first place. Nothing happened.

“My grandparents felt they had let me down but they didn’t. It was the judge that let me down.

“I did not get justice, the system failed me, the judge failed me, he didn’t protect me. I had done nothing wrong and yet he is a free man. You let him go but gave me, the victim, a life sentence.”

Hogg was ordered to do community work, placed under supervision, and put on the sex offenders register.

The teenager’s family has urged the Crown Office to appeal the sentence imposed on Hogg on the grounds that it is “unduly lenient”.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has said he understands the concerns which have been expressed about the case but stressed that sentencing was a matter for the judiciary.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service confirmed they have received an intention to appeal against conviction.

A spokesperson for the Crown Office said: “The Crown is currently considering whether there are grounds for lodging an appeal against this sentence.”

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