Former DUP mayor gets suspended sentence for child sexual offence

Thomas Hogg (32) placed on sex offenders’ register and ordered to pay boy £1,000

Laganside Crown Court. File image: Google Street View

A former Democratic Unionist Party mayor convicted of inciting a teenage boy to take part in sexual activity has been given a three-month suspended prison sentence.

Thomas Hogg was also put on the sex offenders' register for seven years and ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to the victim.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard the offence had left the 32-year-old's political career in ruins and jeopardised his new financial career in the City of London.

Defence counsel Mark Farrell said: "It was a moment of madness which will have catastrophic consequences for Mr Hogg.


“He could have gone on to great things given his young age [but] his political career is now behind him.”

Hogg, with an address at Brae Hill Park in Belfast, sat on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and served as mayor. But he resigned his seat and quit the DUP after criminal charges were brought against him.

During his trial the court was told how he targeted the victim, then aged 15, at a function in September 2019.

He offered to perform a sexual act on the boy and asked him to perform a similar act on him. Hogg first met the teenager at a public event the previous week. The boy rejected his advances and informed police.

According to Mr Farrell his client had been “befuddled and stupefied to a certain degree by alcohol”. He argued that apart from a drink-driving conviction, Hogg had a previous clear record.

Hogg appeared remotely from London for sentencing. Despite Hogg claiming he had been "tipsy" at the time of the offence, District Judge Ted Magill held that the evidence suggested a heavier consumption of alcohol.

The judge also stressed the victim’s shock at the incident.

“In no way, shape or form could you have suspected that there was any encouragement or invitation,” Mr Magill said.

“This boy was utterly and completely innocent, and he can hold his head up with pride.”