England Backs Down From Extending Anonymity To Rape Defendants

In a reversal under pressure, the English Justice Ministry has decided that it will not treat both the accused and the accusing parties in rape cases equally. The Ministry had indicated that it would grant anonymity to those accused of rape just as the alleged victims are given anonymity. Under pressure from both the Labour Party and female MPs, the Ministry has backed down.

The decision is disappointing since the change would have afforded equal treatment to both sides in such cases — a reform that many have called for in the wake of a series of high-profile false rape cases.

It is certainly true that anonymity encourages rape victims to come forward, but it produces a situation where the accused is subject to public scrutiny and disclosure but not the accuser. Defense attorneys have long argued that in cases of false rape accusations, public disclosure of the name of the accuser would have revealed prior false allegations and relevant misconduct, as in the infamous Duke Lacrosse case. I can certainly see (and share many concerns) of those opposed to this reform. However, if anonymity is to be the standard, it should be applied to both sides in my view as a basic question of fairness.

Source: BBC

6 thoughts on “England Backs Down From Extending Anonymity To Rape Defendants”

  1. pete 1, July 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm


    the practice of paying without assuming guilt is what gets me. some feel they can buy their way out of anything. scratch that, some do buy their way out of anything.

    that does seem to be the order of the day. And that essentially means ‘no order’, in a Democratic or Republican or Free society. One can only imagine the kind of world that is being created for todays youth.

  2. The issue is as the professor presented it. It is a valid point. Does anyone recall the William Kennedy Smith rape trial? It was known as the “Blue Dot Trial” because although it was broadcast on national television, the accuser was afforded the benefit of having a crude blue dot over her face during testimony to obscure her identity while the W.K. Smith’s image was splashed all over the media.

    Whether someone is actually guilty of the crime does not matter in this argument. What matters is equal justice. Does somebody being accused of a crime deserve the same privileges as somebody who is accusing another of a crime?

  3. Woosty

    the practice of paying without assuming guilt is what gets me. some feel they can buy their way out of anything. scratch that, some do buy their way out of anything.

  4. When the stigma of rape is removed from the victim…then I would agree to this ‘envelope suggestion’. Rape is a violent crime, it is a form of murder.

    I would wonder first what are the statistics (never mind the ‘celebrity’ factor…) regarding the percentage of rapists falsely accused and the impact against those suffering the horrendous stigma and violence of rape and memories of rape that would be less apt to come forward if it became known that thier rapist was being tried in a repeated crime.

    It is becoming more and more difficult to support our system of ‘innocent till proven guilty’ when so many instances of guilty parties get ‘bargaining chipped’ out of sentencing. I would rather the fairness balance be restored here by addressing some of those issues regarding our legal systems ‘protection’ of those perpetrating violent and devastating financial crimes. Rape, like theft, like any violent crime, is often never recovered from and victims often don’t have the luxury of anonymity either.

  5. Sir this is an area that we agree totally. It is hard too defend a case of rape to start with. The cards are stacked against the “accused” but when the name of the “accused” is released then the person defending them the “attorney” becomes very much the target of rage and anger of people that have nothing to do with the case.

    I support the prior ruling of the court.

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