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Should those accused of rape be granted anonymity?


borntorum

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The chairwoman of the Bar Council of England and Wales has called for those accused of rape to be granted anonymity until proven guilty, due to the stigma attaching to those who are victims of false accusations.

In England, those accused were entitled to anonymity until 1998. The Con/Lib government planned to reintroduce the protection, but have backed down in the face of campaigning from anti-rape campaigners and feminists.

Maura McGowan, Chair of Bar Council

"Not all of these [rape] accusations are true and the damage that can be done to somebody's life, a teacher, doctor or priest, can be overwhelming if it turns out at the end of the case that the allegation isn't true," she said. "These cases are peculiar unto themselves because the stigma quite often can do so much damage.


"A victim or a witness in an assault or a robbery will not be given anonymity no matter how horrible the case is, but in a sexual allegation they will. We have made special rules in these cases."
It does seem unfair to me that the alleged victim is granted anonymity whereas the accused is not. The criminal justice system is meant to work on the basis of innocent until proven guilty, but increasingly it seems that some feminists believe that in sex cases, uniquely, the accused should be treated as guilty until proven otherwise. We have had cases in this jurisdiction of people being falsely accused of sex crimes, and it is surely unfair that they should have to live with the stigma of "no smoke without fire" for the rest of their lives.

Rape suspects 'should not be named' | Society | The Guardian
 


RahenyFG

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Innocent until proven guilty anonymity should be the ultimate mantra for any democratic country.
 
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borntorum

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Why not all crimes?
The point being, that rape and sex assault are seen as being particularly depraved and carry a stigma as a result.

As McGowan points out, victims of burglary, robbery etc aren't entitled to anonymity, but victims of sex offences are. We already recognise that sex offences are different; why should only the victim see the benefit of anonymity?

And the current situation leads to the perverse result that a sex abuser can assault someone in his own family and won't be identified, even after conviction, unless the victim waives anonymity, but if he assaults a stranger he will be named as soon as he is charged.
 

ruserious

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The point being, that rape and sex assault are seen as being particularly depraved and carry a stigma as a result.

As McGowan points out, victims of burglary, robbery etc aren't entitled to anonymity, but victims of sex offences are. We already recognise that sex offences are different; why should only the victim see the benefit of anonymity?

And the current situation leads to the perverse result that a sex abuser can assault someone in his own family and won't be identified, even after conviction, unless the victim waives anonymity, but if he assaults a stranger he will be named as soon as he is charged.
If a bank manager was charged with theft, and was proved innocent, he would still carry a stigma in the workplace. No reason to extend the anonymity rule to all suspects.
 
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Why not all crimes?
Agreed.

100%

In France, a rapist's name is concealed until conviction. I like that general principle in the case of all other crimes.

The only issue is bail. Perhaps the public needs to know sometimes.
 

ruserious

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Agreed.

100%

In France, a rapist's name is concealed until conviction. I like that general principle in the case of all other crimes.

The only issue is bail. Perhaps the public needs to know sometimes.
Tag those on bail?
 

borntorum

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If a bank manager was charged with theft, and was proved innocent, he would still carry a stigma in the workplace. No reason to extend the anonymity rule to all suspects.
I genuinely don't think it's the same. People are more willing to accept innocent until proven guilty when it comes to 'ordinary' crimes. As soon as someone is accused of a sexual crime, he is often treated as a pariah.

If he is guilty, he deserves that pariah status. But if innocent his life could be ruined on the basis of a false accusation. That's not fair.
 

petaljam

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Interesting question. I think there are a couple of issues: rape victims were granted anonymity at a a time when the option that rape was possibly a worse fate for a woman than death - and indeed a lack of serious injuries was taken to mean that she might have been consenting. I don't wish t minimize the stigma that undoubtedly still exists to some extent, but I wonder if it might not be worth considering that rape is a crime of violence like any other, and the same conditions should apply.

The other question though is about the whole notion of identifying the accuser in the first place. It seems to me in a society with organized crime and gang violence, it is just not true to say that the justice system is still one person against another as equals.

I don't know what the solution is, but I think it's clear that there are a lot of cases where criminals use their contacts to prevent witnesses and even the victim themselves, from standing up in court and taking their chances afterwards.
 

ruserious

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I genuinely don't think it's the same. People are more willing to accept innocent until proven guilty when it comes to 'ordinary' crimes. As soon as someone is accused of a sexual crime, he is often treated as a pariah.

If he is guilty, he deserves that pariah status. But if innocent his life could be ruined on the basis of a false accusation. That's not fair.
And I agree 100%, I just think it should be extended to all suspects but as Des pointed out, there is a problem with Bail.
 

RahenyFG

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I genuinely don't think it's the same. People are more willing to accept innocent until proven guilty when it comes to 'ordinary' crimes. As soon as someone is accused of a sexual crime, he is often treated as a pariah.
Yes look at the former TV presenter John Leslie. He was accused of rape but was never found guilty and this allegation cost him his TV career. He is now a property developer in Scotland.
 

Dame_Enda

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If a bank manager was charged with theft, and was proved innocent, he would still carry a stigma in the workplace. No reason to extend the anonymity rule to all suspects.
It would be an infinitely smaller stigma. It would not turn him into a social outcast in the way a rape charge might.
 

gijoe

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I think it is a fair suggestion in the circumstances by the Bar Council chair. Especially nowdays with the allegation permanent available on the interwoggie.
 
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Carlos Danger

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I agree with Des and ruse. Accusation and worse, being charged with a crime attaches a stigma. Sure, an accused rapist may be thought of differently than an accused fraudster, but how many among us have sympathy for Seanie Fitz?

Apart for the bail issue, I'd be willing to name and shame, if it led to the apprehension of a suspect.
 

Mercurial

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It would be better if people actually treated those who are acquitted as being innocent.

Since we're apparently not able to do that as a society, there should be anonymity provided that the number of those charged and acquitted is lower than the number of estimated rapists who would otherwise not be charged or would commit more crimes before being charged.
 

dunno

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The chairwoman of the Bar Council of England and Wales has called for those accused of rape to be granted anonymity until proven guilty, due to the stigma attaching to those who are victims of false accusations.

In England, those accused were entitled to anonymity until 1998. The Con/Lib government planned to reintroduce the protection, but have backed down in the face of campaigning from anti-rape campaigners and feminists.

Maura McGowan, Chair of Bar Council



It does seem unfair to me that the alleged victim is granted anonymity whereas the accused is not. The criminal justice system is meant to work on the basis of innocent until proven guilty, but increasingly it seems that some feminists believe that in sex cases, uniquely, the accused should be treated as guilty until proven otherwise. We have had cases in this jurisdiction of people being falsely accused of sex crimes, and it is surely unfair that they should have to live with the stigma of "no smoke without fire" for the rest of their lives.

Rape suspects 'should not be named' | Society | The Guardian
Yes.

Most other crimes will not make a person into a social leper, even if they are found not guilty. A lot of people seem to hear that verdict in sex crime cases as 'not proven.'
 

Hitch 22

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In cases of rape until proven guilty the defendants should remain anonymous and be entitled to their good name.
End of.
By its very nature rape is very hard to prove and the allegation of rape is often made by women in revenge for being ditched by a lover or if a guy does not call after a night stand.
The pressure on genuine victims of rape is already extraordinary without the name of their rapist being publicly known.
A stigma still exists which views women who are raped as somehow deserving and another equally vile stigma exists that imagines there is no smoke without fire if a man is accused of rape.
Sexual violation is considered by most right thinking people to be a heinous crime and it arouses more emotion than all other crimes including murder.
For many men the thought that their mother, wife, daughter, sister or aunt provokes the instinctual desire to attack or kill the rapist.
Captive women have been known to commit suicide rather than be rape or after experiencing rape many women will suicide.
That is why anonymity must be preserved or the system of justice will be in jeopardy.
Rapists will walk because women will not come forward and innocents will be victims of a lynch mob even if they are cleared of any wrongdoing.
 
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RobertW

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It's a serious issue.

Interestingly the actor Michael Le Vell (who plays Kevin, the mechanic, in Coronation St) has been charged with very serious sex crimes.

The lack of anonymity for such a public figure has led to ITV/Coronation St suspending his involvement with filming.
 

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