Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has called for a change in the law to protect sex case suspects following him being cleared of charges last week.
The People revealed yesterday that it informed Le Vell that the sex charges against him had been dropped in advance of the New Year’s Day front page reporting the news.
He told the paper: ‘These are the worst sort of allegations that anyone could face. Saying I raped a kid, it’s just horrific.
‘It’s wrong that people can be named like this. People’s identitites should remain secret until they are convicted of a crime like this.
‘Some people will always think ‘there’s no smoke without fire’ even though the claims were a complete lie.”
Le Vell was arrested on 30 September after a teenager claimed he raped her when she was six. The arrest led to widespready media coverage about the fact that he was under suspicion.
Le Vell said that at times he sometimes he felt like ‘throwing myself under a bus”.
Labour peer Lord Dale Campbell-Savours, a campaigner for rape law reform, told the paper: ‘It’s outrageous the identification of men in sex offence trials is revealed when an accusation is made.
“I know of cases where the man has been utterly destroyed and sometimes driven to suicide.”
But former Solicitor General Vera Baird told The People: ‘There are lots of nasty crimes like robberies and murders where we have no problem naming them. To treat sexual offences differently sends the wrong message.
‘We can’t have the police arresting and charging people in secret. There has to be open justice.”