Perth schoolboy convicted of rape over under-age sex

The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Bill Henry
The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Bill Henry
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A SCHOOLBOY has been convicted of two rape charges after details of his sexual encounters with an under-age girl were posted on Facebook.

Shaun Sutherland, 16, and the girl, 12, twice had sex after they had been drinking on a Friday night at a regular haunt for youngsters in Perth, a court heard.

The girl remembered nothing of the incidents, but when rumours began to sweep their school, she said she might have done “it” with Sutherland.

In the following days, Sutherland’s mother saw entries on Facebook regarding him and the girl, and she confronted him about the messages. He admitted to having sex with the girl, whose mother was informed and she contacted the police.

Sutherland, of Glenogle Crescent, Perth, admitted two charges under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, which redefined the crime of rape. He pleaded guilty to having intercourse with a child under the age of 13 and thus raping her on 25 May last year. He was allowed to remain on bail until sentencing next month.

The High Court in Edinburgh was told that youngsters met up regularly at South Inch, Perth, and drinking was a feature of their gathering.

That night, the girl consumed vodka for the first time and felt light-headed and dizzy. She went with Sutherland into a pedestrian tunnel, and they had sex. They walked about a mile hand-in-hand to a grassed area where their friends had gathered. They went into bushes and again had sex.

The advocate-depute, Jane Farquharson, said: “The complainer has no recollection of these incidents. During his police interview... the accused explained he had drunk quite a lot that night. Asked how he felt about what had happened, he replied, ‘Not good.’ Asked why it happened, he said, ‘Cause I do stupid choices when I’m drunk.’ As stated to the police, he knew the legal age to have sexual intercourse was 16 years.”

The defence counsel, Ronnie Renucci, said that while the girl could not consent as a matter of law, it was Sutherland’s position that, as a matter of fact, the conduct was consensual.