NS concerns over rape case changes

The Government is being urged by the Newspaper Society to oppose any move to extend anonymity to the defendants in rape cases.

It follows an amendment by Lord Ackner to the sexual offences bill which would require the anonymity presently applied to a victim of a sexual offence in a trial to be extended to the defendant. In a letter to Home Office minister of state Lord Falconer, NS solicitor Sue Oake said: “Such a move would represent a wholly unjustifiable incursion into the principles of open justice and freedom of expression.

“Any theoretical benefit would be entirely outweighed by the damage to these vital areas of principle and to the interests of the administration of justice itself – and as such it must be questionable whether the amendment is compatible with the 1998 Human Rights Act.”

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