The coalition has dropped plans to grant anonymity to men accused of rape. This is a climb down from a coalition pledge that said, "We will extend anonymity in rape cases to defendants."
The original plan was to grant pre- and post-charge anonymity. Apparently, the government now wishes to pursue a “non-statutory solution” – which appears to involve asking the media to respect pre-charge anonymity.This just isn’t good enough. Those accused of sex-crimes are judged by public opinion from the start – ruining the lives of people who are eventually cleared of all charges.
It could be argued that allowing those accused of rape to be “convicted” by the media is likely to encourage false accusations. The stigma of the accusations is what incentivises those who make them.
Apparently, MPs believe that granting anonymity to defendants could send a negative signal about those making the accusations. I would argue that it would actually do the opposite. Removing one of the incentives for making a false claim surely adds weight to subsequent claims.
By Andrew Tait