Scottish Conservatives call for sentencing guideline review
The Scottish Conservatives have urged the Scottish Government to review the sentencing guidelines after a man was given community service for rape.
Sean Hogg, now 21, was found guilty of raping a 13-year-old girl when he was 17 and was sentenced to 270 hours of unpaid work.
Hogg’s young age was taken into account for his sentencing – guidelines introduced in January last year give greater leniency to under 25s, with more of a focus on rehabilitation than punishment.
Shadow justice secretary Jamie Greene said the guidelines were “misguided and dangerous”.
He said: “It is clear that the sentencing guidelines brought into force last year and wholeheartedly backed by SNP ministers are behind this appalling decision.
“Judges hands are being increasingly tied as they have to follow guidelines which effectively say adults under 25 should not be going to prison unless all other avenues have been exhausted.”
Greene has written to the justice secretary, Angela Constance, calling for a review.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, First Minister Humza Yousaf said he can “understand” people’s concerns over the case but it was important for ministers not to intervene in decisions.
He added the sentencing guidelines were determined by the Scottish Sentencing Council.
He said: “In this case, in the case of somebody being convicted of rape, I can completely understand the concern people have got with the sentence that has been given in this particular case and it is for the judiciary to make a determination on sentencing. And it is for the Crown to independently make a decision about whether to challenge that as being unduly lenient or not.”
Labour’s Pauline McNeill called for “zero tolerance” on violence against women and girls.
She added: “It cannot be right the such abhorrent rimes result in a slap on the wrist.”