That a man who raped a 12-year old child has walked free is an utter disgrace
Daniel Cieslak met a 12-year old child in a taxi queue in Edinburgh city centre at 4am on 31st July 2015. He took her to a friend’s flat, had sexual intercourse with her and on being arrested “became distressed” and told detectives he had been led to believe she was 16.
On the 17th March, Cieslak, a Polish born, 21-year old student at Napier University, pleaded guilty to rape but was shockingly discharged without sentence and without requirement to sign the sex offenders’ register at the High Court in Glasgow.
The judge in the case, Lady Scott, took what she described as the “wholly exceptional” decision to “discharge [Cieslak] absolutely” despite the fact that she accepted that a victim under 13 years is “deemed incapable of consent”. She remarked: “Whilst there is no defence to this offence because of strict liability, the fact is that you would have had a defence if the victim had been a few months older”.
That Daniel Cieslak escaped punishment is an utter disgrace. It is true that the girl he raped lied to him and told him she was far older than her years, but that he claimed he did not know the true age of what essentially is a child seems a little far-fetched. In response, Isabelle Kerr, manager of Glasgow’s Rape Crisis Centre told The Scottish Sun:
“The law really can’t be any clearer. If someone is under the age of 16 they cannot give consent – therefore a 12-year old is not able to consent”.
“It’s a concern to be talking about someone of that age as an ‘active participant’. It’s going down the road of victim blaming, something we’ve been working to tackle”.
“I would be concerned that young women might be deterred from reporting rape if they feel they are not going to be believed or not taken seriously”.
Whilst Lady Scott may be of the view that “justice [has been] best served” by her judgment, we agree with those who say that she got it wrong. That Daniel Cieslak walked free is entirely wrong and that a website named Tabloid Corrections claimed that he is an “innocent man” is even worse. As with the case of the convicted but not jailed paedophile Andrew Picard, all this result does is to bring shame on Britain’s legal system.