(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — The U.K. establishment is seeking to ban journalists from naming sex abuse suspects before they are charged. The proposed ban aims to protect them from pre-charge publicity.
Former prosecutor Alison Levitt QC, who provided the executive summary for the Jimmy Savile scandal, told The Guardian that “It should be a criminal offense to name someone before charge. I feel strongly there should be a presumption of not naming before charge, with an exception in certain cases.”
Currently, police in the U.K. do not name someone being investigated for allegations of sexual abuse, but they may occasionally release the name of a suspect if they think it will encourage other victims to come forward.
Subject to libel laws and contempt of court, media organizations are free to name suspects. This is what Levitt wants to change by insisting this step be approved by a judge first.
The issue has been in the spotlight as MPs and senior officers face questioning regarding their conduct during the widely-publicized case of Lord Brittan. London Metropolitan Police were forced to apologize to the family of the late politician, who died in January unaware that Scotland Yard had dropped a rape case against him.
Some may say the timing of the closing of ranks is a little ironic in the same week the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse apologized for “instantly and permanently” deleting vital testimonies of victims.
Naming of suspects pre-charge is viewed as a double-edged sword. Some are adamant that naming alleged offenders brings more victims forward, while others firmly believe the media shouldn’t get a look in until the innocent are proven guilty.
Whatever you think, plans to preserve the reputation of suspects will come as no surprise to many in the U.K. — a nation rapidly becoming notorious for its institutionalized cover-ups of pedophilia.