Schoolboy spared custodial sentence for raping girl

The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean
The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A SCHOOLBOY has been spared a custodial sentence for twice raping a girl, 12, after she had been drinking.

• Shaun Sutherland was also under the influence of alcohol when he and the girl had sex

• Sutherland admitted two charges under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009

• He pleaded guilty to having intercourse with a child under the age of 13 and thus raping her on 25 May last year

Shaun Sutherland, 17, was also under the influence of alcohol when he and the girl had sex in a pedestrian tunnel and in bushes.

His lawyer told a court that the case was “a perfect example of why there is a minimum age for the sale of alcohol.”

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.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that the pair had been drinking with others on a Friday night at a regular haunt for youngsters in Perth.

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 he had had sex with the girl. Her mother was informed and she contacted the police.

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.

Mr Renucci said Sutherland had just turned 16 at the time of the offences and was immature and had a low IQ.

“He did not ply her with drink...drink also played a part in his lack of judgment that night. This is a perfect example of why there is a minimum age for the sale of alcohol,” added Mr Renucci.

Lord Bannatyne accepted there were exceptional circumstances which allowed a non-custodial sentence, and he made a community payback order, under which Sutherland would be supervised for three years and would perform 200 hours of unpaid community work in the first 12 months.