A teenage boy was given a three-year rehabilitation order for raping a young girl when he appeared before a judge at Hove Crown Court today (Friday 6 October).
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was told that if he had been any older, he would have been facing a prison sentence of 14 years.
Judge Shani Barnes, the honorary recorder of Brighton and Hove, told the boy: “These charges were of the gravest kind.”
The boy admitted a sample count of rape and another of sexual assault and he was convicted of another sample count of rape.
Judge Barnes said that she had to take into account that the offences took place over a period of time, believed to have been some months.
The young victim had been afraid to say what had happened to her. The judge said: “She thought that if she told anyone, you might die.
“The offences … have had a huge and very bad effect (on the girl). What happened to her will affect her as she grows up and could cause her lots of problems.
“It doesn’t matter how sorry you are. When we do bad things, we have to be punished.
“You are a little boy. It’s important that my sentence doesn’t just punish you.”
Judge Barnes said that she had to pass a sentence that also helped to ensure that he did not commit any such offence ever again.
A pre-sentence report incorporating evidence from a psychiatrist and a psychologist said that the boy was sensitive, fragile and gentle, with a low level of intelligence.
He did not have a history of deviant or violent behaviour although he had been found to be looking at pornographic material.
And he was regarded as presenting a medium risk of committing further sexual offences.
The judge said that she had a duty to protect the community and added: “If there is any further offending behaviour, you will be going into custody.”
The court was told that the teenager would be on the sex offenders’ register for two and a half years.
But he would not be subject to a sexual harm prevention order because the terms of such an order as set out in law would prevent the boy from being around any other children, for instance, at school.
But he would carry out community service and take part in sessions to help him to face up to what he had done and learn about the proper boundaries of sexual behaviour.
An application was made for the sentencing to take place in secret but this was refused by Judge Barnes who instead imposed restrictions on what could be reported.