'Unduly lenient' sentence of man who raped 13-year-old to be appealed

Instead of a prison sentence, Sean Hogg was ordered to do 270 hours of unpaid work. 

‘Unduly lenient’ sentence of Sean Hogg who raped 13-year-old girl to be appealed by Crown Spindrift

A man who walked free from court after he was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl is to have his sentence appealed by the Crown on the grounds that it is “unduly lenient”.

Sean Hogg, 21, was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow on March 7 and was sentenced on April 3 2023. 

He was found guilty of raping a 13-year-old girl in a park in Dalkeith Country Park in Midlothian on various occasions between March and June 2018 when he was 17 years old.

Hogg, of Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, threatened the victim and pulled down her lower clothing, before seizing her by the wrists and causing the girl to carry out a sex act on him.

He went on to push his victim’s head down and raped her.

Instead of a prison sentence he was ordered to do 270 hours of unpaid work. 

He was also put under supervision and placed on the sex offenders register for three years.

Judge Lord Lake said that if the offence had been committed by an adult over 25, Hogg would have received a jail sentence of four or five years.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The decision caused widespread furore, and on Friday, the Lord Advocate decided that the Crown should appeal the sentence imposed upon a man convicted of rape on the grounds that it is “unduly lenient”. 

Deputy crown agent for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Kenny Donnelly 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 outwith 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.”

Aamer Anwar, the solicitor on behalf of his client who was raped by Hogg, said: “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 shadow justice secretary, Jamie Greene MSP, 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.

“The original sentence only showed how misguided the SNP’s guidelines are and how, as a result, judges have their hands tied.”

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