Lawyers claim man who raped girl, 13, was 'wrongfully convicted'

Sean Hogg was spared jail after being convicted of attacking the schoolgirl in 2018, but prosecutors plan to appeal the leniency of his sentence.

Lawyers claim Sean Hogg who raped girl, 13, was ‘wrongfully convicted’ Spindrift

A judge has set a court date for when rapist Sean Hogg’s lawyers will argue why their client should have his conviction quashed. 

Lawyers for the 22-year-old will address judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh on September 27. 

They will ask the court to quash the conviction of their client during proceedings as they believe he was wrongfully convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl. 

However, if the appeal against his conviction is unsuccessful, prosecutors will make submissions on why Hogg’s sentence – a community payback order which saw him being spared jail – was unduly lenient. 

The news emerged at the Court of Criminal Appeal on Thursday. Lord Matthews fixed the date administratively. 

Hogg was placed on a community payback order earlier this year, which included supervision requirements and carrying out 270 hours unpaid work, after he was convicted in April 2023 of raping the child at Dalkeith Country Park, in Midlothian.

Jurors at the High Court in Glasgow heard how Hogg was 17 when he preyed on the schoolgirl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Court papers state that Hogg attacked the schoolgirl on various occasions between March and June 2018.

As well as being ordered to carry out unpaid work, Hogg was put under supervision and placed on the sex offenders’ register for three years.

Under new court guidance, criminals under the age of 25 are treated more leniently because of the “immaturity of their brains”.

The guidelines were drawn up by the Scottish Sentencing Council.

At Hogg’s sentencing at the High Court in Glasgow earlier this year, Lord Lake said that he had considered the guidelines.

He also concluded that prison would not contribute to the thug’s rehabilitation and took into account the fact he was a first offender.

Lord Lake said: “Rape is one of the most serious crimes and that is why it is tried at the High Court.

“Looking at the circumstances, her age and vulnerabilities are aggravating factors. For the level of seriousness, I have to consider your liability and have regard to your age as a factor.

“This offence, if committed by an adult over 25, you attract a sentence of four or five years.

“I don’t consider that appropriate and don’t intend to send you to prison.

“You are a first offender with no previous history of prison; you are 21 and were 17 at the time. Prison does not lead me to believe this will contribute to your rehabilitation.”

Hogg then appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh and admitted breaching the order.

Hogg’s counsel, Donald Findlay KC, said that on behalf of his client he tendered “a full apology to the court”.

He said: “I have, in what I think might be described as clear and unequivocal terms, explained to him the opportunity afforded to him by the court.”

The defence counsel said Hogg has carried the “equivalent of over 100 hours” of the unpaid work order. He said: “He is currently waiting a placement to complete the remaining 169 hours.”

Mr Findlay said Hogg was now in an ongoing relationship with a woman who was aware of the background.

He said: “He has also taken steps to address what has been in the past a problem for him, a problem with alcohol.”

He said Hogg was aware of the dangers it posed for him and has been alcohol-free for four weeks.

The defence counsel said there had been a mix up over Hogg’s medication for ADHD and he did not receive it, but that has been resolved.

Mr Findlay said he and defence solicitors had gone through with Hogg the various matters that were brought to the court’s attention.

He said it appeared that Hogg did not quite grasp that 10am meant 10am and not ten past ten, let alone 11am.

The defence counsel said: “He can begin to try to build something or he can sit in prison. Given those two choices I can’t understand why he would do anything other than apply himself to the first option.”

The sentencing judge, Lord Lake, said: “I am minded in respect of the admitted breach simply to admonish and take no further action.”

The judge said he noted that there were no concerns of re-offending and the requirements already put in place were considered adequate to manage the case.

Lord Lake asked Hogg: “Are you willing to comply with all the terms of the community payback order?”

He replied: “Yes, my lord.”

Now lawyers will argue that Hogg, formerly of Hamilton, in South Lanarkshire, shouldn’t have been convicted in the first place. 

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