A TOP human rights lawyer has intervened amid outrage after a child rapist was spared jail for his “horrific” crime.

Sean Hogg, 21, from Hamilton dodged a prison sentence after a trial at Glasgow High Court on Monday despite being found guilty of raping a 13-year-old girl in Dalkeith Country Park five years ago.

Aamer Anwar, a prominent Glasgow solicitor, outlined how the judge arrived at his decision to hand Hogg a 270-hour community payback order.

The decision was described as “very unusual” by leading KC Tommy Ross and “worryingly lenient” by Rape Crisis Scotland.

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Anwar said the judge was bound by specific guidelines for young offenders, which is defined as anyone under the age of 25 when they are found guilty of a crime or if they plead guilty.

He highlighted how the guidelines, set by the independent Scottish Sentencing Council, required judges to differentiate when sentencing a young offender versus an older criminal.

Anwar told The National: "There was absolutely nothing in the guidelines preventing the judge from sending Hogg to prison for this horrific crime - it was entirely an independent judicial decision and one expects that the Crown would appeal what is seen by many as an extraordinarily lenient sentence.”

He also pointed out the Scottish Sentencing Council was made up of “senior judges, lawyers and police officer” and said it was not “controlled” by the Scottish Government.

“Its valuable work has modernised Scotland’s justice system,” he added.

The guidelines, which came into effect last January, require judges to pay “particular regard” to the maturity of the young person before the court and the potential for “rehabilitation”.

The guidelines said that “research shows that young people are not fully developed and may not have attained full maturity” and “may be less able to think about what could happen as a result of their actions, including the impact on any victim and others affected by those actions”.

They go on to state that rehabilitation must be a “primary consideration” when sentencing a person under the age of 25, adding: “The character of a young person is not as fixed as the character of an older person, and a young person who has committed a crime may have greater potential to change.”

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It comes as the Scottish Conservatives called on the Justice Secretary to order an urgent review of the guidelines “with a view to scrapping” them entirely.

In a letter to Angela Constance, the party’s justice spokesperson Jamie Greene said: “As a new Justice Secretary you have the ability to change the direction of Scottish Government policy to get tough on serious criminals who commit such horrific crimes and I hope you will consider my request today.”

The Scottish Sentencing Council was established in 2015 as a result of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 and has previously defended greater leniency for young offenders because of “compelling scientific evidence on the development of cognitive maturity”.

The Scottish Government was approached for comment.