Life

Piccadilly Pulse: Should those accused of rape or sex offences have anonymity unless proven guilty?

By Amy Lofthouse

Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell’s recent acquittal from child abuse charges has prompted debate on whether those charged with sexual offences should get anonymity unless proven guilty.

Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, told the Home Affairs Select Committee the day after Le Vell’s acquittal that they had made the right decision to prosecute.

“The decision to proceed was the right decision.  It would have been wrong not to have taken a case when there was a case to answer,” he said.

There are those, however, many who claim that anonymity for those accused of rape is needed in order to guarantee a fair trial and ensure their lives are not forever tarnished should they be proved innocent.

MM took to the streets of Manchester to ask:

Should those accused of rape remain anonymous until after the verdict?

OptionsResults
Yes80%
No20%

 

Mary Lawler, a 65-year-old shop worker from Gorton, said: “Yes, they should remain anonymous. Or a case could unfairly damage a person’s reputation.”

Scott, a 44-year-old film director from Leeds, said: “The legal system in this country means that you are innocent until proven guilty. It could potentially have ended his career. They should be granted anonymity.”

Neil Best, a civil servant from Leed, said: “Fame shouldn’t make a difference, and nor should the crime. They should be named.”

Jenny, a 24-year-old medical student from Didsbury, said: “They should be granted anonymity, but at the same time we should remember that we have a duty to protect the victim. The victim should always come first. But to make it fair, neither should be named.”

Mr and Mrs Berry, a retiree couple from Longsight, both said: “Mud sticks. Yes, they should be anonymous.”

Pam Williams, a 50-year-old retiree from Stockport, said: “I’m frightened of it scaring people from coming forward. I’m on the fence.”

Dorothy Potter, a 73-year-old retiree from Stockport, said: “Yes, they should be anonymous. It kills their life. It happened to a friend of mine. His name was everywhere; on radio, in the paper… only his friends stuck by him.”

A mechanic ,who only gave his name as Kev, said: “It is a ‘maybe’ crime, but we shouldn’t protect people just because they are in the public eye.”

Margaret McAndrew, an 80-year-old retiree, said: “The media bring everything in someone’s life up when they are accused. Their whole life is on trial. So yes, they should be anonymous.”

Liga, a 22 year old Latvian barista, said: “No, they should be named. They are accused of a crime. They deserve it.”

Image courtesy of ITV via YouTube, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook. 

Related Articles