Thursday, 2 May 2013

Anonymity For All?




Yesterday the news was released that Coronation St actor, Bill Roache has been charged with rape and as usually happens, social media outlets firstly exploded with disbelief and then what felt like just twenty seconds later, the inevitable jokes and wisecracks started happening.

FIRSTLY, let me say, I do NOT know whether Bill Roache is innocent or guilty, I am not here to judge the man. Personally I like to leave it to a court of law to decide (call me old-fashioned if you will) his fate, not a Twitter kangaroo court consisting of Frankie Boyle, two people who once lived next door to his aunt's cleaner and nine people who prefer Eastenders to Corrie anyway.

But once more it raises the question of whether there should be anonymity for ALL involved in legal cases. I am not just talking rape or sex crime here, although they do seem to be the ones that hit the headlines, especially at the moment. Is it fair that a person accused of a crime is named, either in a newspaper or in any form of media? I am not just talking about celebrities here either.

Should the accused be given the same anonymity as a victim in a case?

Do you hold the view that once someone has been named, there always be people out there thinking that there is no smoke without fire, and even if they are found innocent, will some people think that they just got away with it?

Or perhaps you think that there be no anonymity for someone accused of a crime at all?


I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

Let me know.


Big Fashionista x x x






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10 comments

  1. Well this has given me something to things about. I guess, everyone is 'innocent until proven guilty' but then they may say its in the public's interest to know. Because the accused may get be guilty but not be found guilty.Ah I really don't know, every time someone talks about Ken now I will instantly think he was charged with rape. If it's not true it still has ruined his career and people opinions. Who knows!? Will be back to read people's opinions because be interesting to read. Nice post. x

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  2. Yes, the accused should remain anonymous. I think that the media (traditional and "social") frenzy does not help matters whatsoever. A lot of people immediately forget that there is a victim, no matter if the accused is a well known person or not.

    I think that justice is best served in the interest of fairness to both parties. In this case, if the gentleman who has been accused turns out to be not guilty in the eyes of our very good legal system in the UK, his reputation will probably always be questioned by some members of the public and the press. This event could possibly hinder future employment amongst other things.

    Equally, it is important that the victim is given a fair trial, because priority is making sure they feel that justice has been done. I feel once there is a media scrum surrounding a case when we are aware of the accused, perspectives can be lost.

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  3. Yes, all concerned should retain anonimity unless convicted when it relates to cases where there is any kind of sexual implications. Our media have no restraint, shame, or respect for the law to do it's job and it sickens me that some people (not normally as high profile as Mr Roach) have their entire lives ruined locally after being named in the papers despite being found not guilty.

    Those accused have families too.

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  4. Yes definitely, remember the nurse arrested for the murders in Stepping Hill hospital branded the 'Angel of Death', out all hours partying, hates her job by The Sun, released without charge. Still gets judged and abuse from people now. I think the appropriate term is 'mud sticks' whether it is true or not.

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  5. I am undecided, and see arguments for both.

    Firstly everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but so often the media will have tried and convicted long before an individual even gets to court! If they are then acquitted there will always be those who will say there's no smoke without fire, and they will carry this stigma with them for the rest of their lives. Especially now in the world of the internet and Google, the information about what happened will forever be there when anyone types the name into a search engine, and the top results may not be the ones that highlight the fact that they were found Not Guilty. Lets not also forget that people do make malicious accusations to punish people they feel have wronged them on some other way.

    On the flip side there are people who pray on the vulnerable. Sometimes they may have committed a number of similar crimes before anyone comes forward. They may or may go on to be convicted, depending on the quality of evidence etc, however seeing the story in the papers may give others the courage to come forward knowing they are not alone? This additional evidence makes conviction much more likely, and the sentence will reflect that this is not a one off event.

    Maybe it could be argued that it is for the greater good that names are public?

    There are many more arguments for and against, and I suspect this debate will rumble on and on.....

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  6. No, in the case of accusations of sexual assualt or rape I don't think the accused should be granted anonyminity - mainly because rapists are very likely to be serial rapists, and if they have been arrested on suspicion it makes it easier and more likely for their other victims to come forward. I do understand all of the reasons against, but at the same time I think this is more important, honestly. Also, I'm not commenting on Bill Roache's case, but the numbers of false accusations of rape are *shockingly* low, much much much lower than anyone in the media would have you believe. It's more likely that anonymity for people accused of rape would result in fewer convictions of actual rapists (and you don't need me to tell you the statistics on that) than it is for a good man's life to be ruined.

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  7. I work as a trainee criminal law solicitor and am about to graduate with a law degree so I've had this debate a lot recently, especially because I live round the corner from ITV Granada studios. Its different for every single case. Generally I think there are so many miscarriages of justice (over 1,000 ever year!) that you should only name when a verdict has been made. It can also prejudice the outcome in court if the jury know the name before hand, people do create images off names. Look at Amanda Knox, poor girl is fighting for a decent life after a crime she has been acquitted of (although releasing a book is not the way to go)! I do think sexual assualt/rape should be on a different standard though, but perhaps inform those in concern, any young people he may have access to etc., directly than the entire nation and its cat. What life has this man got if he isn't guilty? Also as a side point, may I remind people that these charges are quite old, there has been no information provided to believe he is now 'dangerous', thus the 'warning' factor does not really come into play in this particular case. I know once a criminal always a criminal, but hes well know now, he would be less likely to get away with it.

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  8. In the US, the security guard that saved uncountable lives during the Atlanta Olympics bombing had his own life ruined when he was briefly suspected of attempting the bombing himself. Despite the true perpetrator eventually being identified, the public always remembered all the media coverage portraying him as the culprit. He was never even charged. The media are immoral vultures, and people not actually convicted of a crime should be protected from them.

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  9. I strongly believe that both the accused and the victim need to be given anonymity. People seem to forget these days, especially with the rise of social media that you are innocent until proven guilty.

    If you are charged or even just arrested with a crime it is now presumed that you have done it and with the more serious crimes, a virtual witch hunt begins, both on Twitter and Facebook. The phrase "well they must have arrested/charged/considered them for a reason" is on more people's lips than ever.

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  10. I think there does need to be anonymity up until someone is actually found guilty. False accusations can ruin lives and people pass judgement very easily without evidence.

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