The Daily Mail today said "means must be found" to remove the
anonymity of a woman whose false rape accusation led to a man being
wrongly imprisoned for more than three years.
Warren Blackwell was cleared yesterday in the Appeal Court after a
review found that the woman who had accused him had a long history of
making unfounded claims of sexual offences.
The Mail ran the story on the front page, along with a pixelated
photograph explaining that the law has no provisions for
overturning the right to lifetime anonymity granted to complainants
in sexual offences.
The Sexual Offenses (Amendment) Act 1992 and the Youth Justice and
Criminal Evcicence Act 1999 grant lifetime anonymity to complainants
of most sexual offences and the Press Complaints Commission's code of
practice says newspapers should not publish material likely to
contribute to the identification of the victim of a sex offence.
Since 1988, there has been no right to anonymity for defendants in
In addition to the photograph, the Daily Mail gave more
details about the woman than other papers and identified by her surname's
initial and age. The paper also named a former partner of "Miss A".
It reported that Blackwell had been convicted with no forensic evidence after "Miss
A", a former girlfriend of his uncle, picked him out of a police
line-up after alleging indecent assault on New Year's Eve in 1999.
the Criminal Cases Review Commission discovered that "Miss A" had
lied about and heard evidence that her injuries had been self-inflicted.
The review also found that she had made at least five other unfounded
allegations of sexual and physical assualt to three seperate police
forces, and had filed complaints against two former husbands as well
as her father.
In its leader, the paper said that it had lead a campaign the in 1970s
for a change in the law to allow victims of alleged sexual offences
It said: "[T]he campaign we led was to protect the genuine victims of genuine
"In the name of common sense, a means must be found — before she puts
another innocent man through torment.”