Tuesday 13 July 2010

Blunt blunted

I’ve a feeling that Justice Minister Crispin Blunt is in a bit of a spin about proposals to offer anonymity to rape suspects.

The coalition have already moved their position on this one – from a policy which offered people charged with rape anonymity to one which offered people arrested for rape anonymity, but only until they are charged.

Labour women are making a feminist stand on the issue, but there is actually little support for the coalition’s current position from its own benches – many don’t see why rape suspects should get protection that other suspects are denied.

While people these days might argue that MPs don’t have real life experience, there are certainly enough lawyers in the House to make an informed judgement on the issue.

So if the coalition want to move anonymity forward it sounds like they are going to have to further alter their own position.

That might mean possibly dropping it altogether, surely too embarrassing to consider, or maybe going totally in the other direction and giving anonymity to people arrested for any offence, but only until they are charged.

Either way the original idea looks like a dud and the situation will need spinning to avoid it looking like a defeat.


Gareth said...

What happens to other suspects in other crimes is largely irrelevant. If anonymity is to be allowed for accusers in rape cases then it must be allowed for the accused too. The converse is also true - if victims are granted anonymity in rape cases why not in other cases?

Are our politicians too spineless to make such arguments? Justice must be even handed and be seen to be even handed. To treat rape suspects different from other suspects is unwise. To treat rape victims different from other victims is also unwise. But if a special case is to be applied it must be applied *in the same direction* for both suspects and victims. How can you have a fair trial without it?

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