Calls for prison sentences for violent sexual offenders by default

It comes after a man who raped a 13-year-old girl was spared jail.

Calls for prison sentences for violent sexual offenders by default in Scotland after Sean Hogg case Spindrift

The Scottish Government is facing calls to ensure those found guilty of violent sexual crimes receive a prison sentence by default, regardless of age.

It follows the case of Sean Hogg, 21, who received a community payback order after being found guilty of raping a 13-year-old girl.

Scottish Labour claimed that while the age of the defendant was taken into consideration the age of the victim seems to have been disregarded.

Current guidance states that those in Scotland found guilty of a crime who are under the age of 25 should have a presumption against receiving custodial sentences.

READ MORE: Why was man who raped teenage girl given community service?

Labour is calling for an end to the “confusion” over prison policy for 18 to 25-year-olds and a review of custody policy in rape cases.

Scottish Labour want prison to be the default for those convicted of crimes such as rape.iStock

The party said it supported custodial sentences as a default for those convicted of violent sexual crimes such as rape, and called for a zero-tolerance for violence against women and girls.

Scottish Labour’s justice spokesperson Pauline McNeill said: “Like thousands of other Scots, I was deeply concerned to hear that a rapist did not receive a custodial sentence for his heinous crime.

“As a society we must have zero tolerance for violent sexual crimes against women and girls.

“It is simply wrong that someone who commits such a vile crime is not seriously considered for a custodial sentence.

“We need answers now from the Scottish Government over whether ministers approved of the guidelines which led to this individual receiving a community payback order.”

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said: “Rape is a heinous crime with women and girls predominantly the victims.

“I am determined to progress the significant reforms set out in Lady Dorrian’s report on improving the management of sexual offences, as well as the abolition of the not proven verdict, so rape survivors can have full confidence in the justice system.

“The Sentencing Young People guidelines make explicit that a prison sentence remains an option for the court if it considers that to be appropriate.

“Across all age groups, 98% of rape convictions resulted in a custodial penalty between 2018 and 2021.

“Sentencing guidelines are developed by the independent Scottish Sentencing Council and approved by the High Court of Justiciary. Scottish ministers have no role in their approval.

“There is already a statutory duty on the Sentencing Council to periodically review the sentencing guidelines it publishes.”

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