Brian Reade writing in the Daily Mirror today argues that men accused of serious sexual offences should have anonymity until proven guilty because of the terrible stigma associated with such charges.
It follows the news that Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has been cleared after accusations that he sexually abused a schoolgirl proved groundless.
Despite his innoncence, his questioning – in October – prompted a string of sensational tabloid front pages.
Under the headline: Corrie Kevin in child abuse arrest The Sun reported on 6 October that he had been arrested on suspicion of child abuse.
On 2 January, The Sun reported that he had been cleared of rape after a teenager claimed he had attacked her.
Men accused of serious sex offences should have the same rights as their accuser and only be named if they are found guilty.
We’ve seen it happen to pop stars like Paul Weller and Mick Hucknall, soap stars such as Ben Freeman, reality contestants like Jack Tweed and footballers Frank Sinclair, Paul Dickov, Keith Gillespie and Jody Morris.
Identified as an alleged rapist when they were innocent. And it left them all devastated, angry and disgraced, after being accused of the most sickening of crimes before the case was anywhere near court.
How can famous men be allowed to hide behind super injunctions that cover-up their private sins yet innocent men can be named and shamed before they are even investigated by police?
I understand the argument that naming a genuine rapist may encourage other victims to come forward. I appreciate the woeful conviction rate, and the need to improve it.
But I don’t accept that innocent men can have their lives ruined, possibly out of malice, while those who allege a crime are never named.