Daniel Cieslak, 21, a Napier University student had sex with the child in July 2015 after meeting her at a taxi queue in Edinburgh city centre. He then took her back to a party with him thinking they were 16 and 17. He later burst into tears when police revealed her true age, which was 12 years old.
Lady Scott today said she had decided “justice is best served” by taking the “wholly exceptional decision” to give Cieslak an absolute discharge. She told the court the statutory rape offence had a “very wide scope” with, as a result, a “variation” in sentencing, the Telegraph UK reported.
Lady Scott said the 12 year-old was also an “active participant” in sexual activity and that there was no suggestion of “predatory conduct” or grooming.
According to investigations, after Cieslak’s sexual contact with the 12 year old left the next morning, she allegedly had no concerns and there was no suggestion of her being distressed.
Even though Daniel Cieslak is culpable under ‘strict liability’ because the victim is under 13 was deemed by law to be incapable of consenting to sex, she added that there were ‘a number of exceptional circumstances’ which applied with the case.
She then announced her decision to give Cieslak the decision of an absolute discharge, meaning he would not go to jail or have to sign the sex offenders register.
‘In addition, there is no suggestion here of predatory conduct or grooming or manipulation or deception,’ she continued, addressing the defendant. ‘I do not consider there is any need for, or public interest in, punishment. To do so would in my view be disproportionate given the nature of the criminal culpability here.’
‘Considering all of the factors I have reached the conclusion that justice is best served in this case by taking the wholly exceptional decision not to sentence you and instead I discharge you absolutely.’ the lady judge added.