A 21-year-old man who admitted rape after having sex with a 12-year-old girl has walked free from court.
Daniel Cieslak wept after police informed him of the girl’s age, having believed she was 16, Glasgow’s High Court heard.
Cieslak met the girl at a taxi rank at 4am and later had sex with her at a flat in Edinburgh in 2015.
He pleaded guilty to the rape, but on Friday he was given an absolute discharge.
Judge Lady Scott noted Cieslak had been subjected to “considerable pressure and distress from the burden of this prosecution.”
Cieslak, who quit his college course and suspended plans to go to university was “crying and holding his head in his hands” when he learned the girl’s true age.
Lady Scott noted a taxi driver had testified that he thought the victim was aged around 20 and added: “For what it is worth my impression from viewing the victim on the CCTV footage on assessment by appearance that the victim was over 16 years of age would be a reasonable one.
“…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 criminal culpability here.”
She concluded: “Justice is best served in this case by taking the wholly exceptional decision not to sentence you and instead I discharge you absolutely.”