A rapist who was controversially spared jail after attacking a 13-year-old girl has claimed he is the victim of a “very significant miscarriage of justice”.
Lawyers for Sean Hogg told the Court of Criminal Appeal that the judge who presided over his trial did not follow correct legal procedures to establish guilt.
Hogg was found guilty of attacking his victim in Dalkeith Country Park on various occasions in 2018, when he was 17.
He avoided jail after being given a community payback order as a direct alternative to imprisonment after judge Lord Lake consulted Scotland’s new sentencing guidelines for people aged under 25.
Donald Findlay KC said Lord Lake told jurors in his legal directions that the complainer’s evidence could be corroborated by an account of a man who said she appeared to be “distressed” following the incident which led to Hogg’s conviction.
The lawyer told the court that it was wrong for the judge to have told the jurors this. He said the witness’ account of “distress” could not corroborate the complainer’s account.
Mr Findlay said that Lord Lake should have known this and that the jury should haven’t been told that they could use it as corroboration.
The KC told the court that Lord Lake’s actions resulted in Hogg being wrongfully convicted.
“My submission is that the jury was misdirected by the trial judge and, it pains me to say this, but there has been a very significant miscarriage of justice at the hands of the judge,” he said.
Hogg’s lawyers submitted that his conviction for rape should be overturned.
Papers lodged by Hogg’s legal team at the Criminal Court of Appeal state that in his closing legal directions, Lord Lake told jurors that the account given by this witness could “corroborate” the complainer’s evidence about being raped.
The papers also state that Lord Lake stated that the evidence of “distress” supported the complainer’s “credibility”.
The papers state that this was a “material misdirection” and resulted in a “miscarriage of justice”.
The court heard that the prosecutor in the trial did ask detailed questions about what the complainer was distressed about.
Mr Findlay said this resulted in the Crown being unable to corroborate the complainer’s account of rape.
Prosecutor Ruth Charteris KC told the court that the Crown believed that there was enough evidence to allow it to maintain Hogg’s conviction.
Lady Dorrian told the parties that she and her colleagues would issue their judgement sometime in the near future.
If the judges rule against Hogg, then the Crown will make submissions to the court about Hogg’s sentence being unduly lenient.
She added: “We will take our time to consider the issues in this case and we will issue our decision in writing in due course.”
Speaking after the case, the complainer’s lawyer Aamer Anwar said: “My client in April of this year was left devastated. As far as she is concerned, she came forward. She told the truth. She spoke up. She believes the police and the jury did its duty.
“There is much more she wishes to say, but it would be inappropriate to comment further until the Appeal Court issues its judgement.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country