For raping a girl when she was just 12 years old, a teenager was given a three-year prison term.
According to testimony given at the High Court in Edinburgh, Myles Harris was 18 years old when he attacked the girl in Gala Policies Park in Galashiels, Scottish Borders, last year.
Harris may have anticipated a harsher prison sentence, according to Judge Lord Scott, if he had not been so young when the crime was committed.
He claimed that if Harris had been an adult at the time, he could have received a sentence that included up to an additional year and a half in prison.
Harris, who has since turned 19 and had “no memory” of the offense because of his extreme intoxication at the time, the court heard.
Harris began doing drugs when he was 12 years old, according to Harris’ defense attorney Lili Prais, and his use got worse as he got older.
She said that after that, he joined a bad crowd and made some “extremely poor” decisions, which resulted in the rape on January 16 of last year.
She told the court: “He is devastated by the actions of that night. He accepts full responsibility.
“He has no memory of the incident. He had consumed substances.
“He no longer misuses drugs or alcohol. He is no longer associating with negative peer groups.”
Harris has relocated to Canterbury, Kent, to live with his grandparents, according to Ms. Prais, and he is ready to take part in any program the court deems will benefit in his recovery.
“There is no better example of capacity to show change,” she said.
Judge Scott said a custodial sentence was justified considering the seriousness of the offence.
“You raped a child when you were 18 and she was only 12,” he said. “You knew her age.”
The court continued by citing a victim impact assessment that stated the victim of Harris’ rape continues to experience “serious” and “ongoing” effects on a “daily” basis.
In addition, he assured Harris that his decisions were unaffected by whether he was drunk or high at the time of the crime.
“I must make clear the usage of alcohol or drugs provides you with no excuse or mitigation at all,” he said.
Harris was informed that his three-year sentence will be retroactive to the day he was hauled into jail last month. Harris admitted the crime and appeared in court via video connection while still in custody.
He was also permanently added to the list of sex offenders.