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Some say defendant anonymity would help to support the presumption of innocence. Actually, it would do the opposite. Consider the idea that defendant anonymity should remain until a defendant is charged. This proposal raises a question: why should a decision to charge someone mean that their rights as a citizen change? A defendant after charge is just as innocent as a defendant prior to charge. By allowing anonymity only until charge, we would reinforce the idea that being charged somehow makes you less innocent than before. This doesn’t support the presumption of innocence; it undermines it.
It’s an important number. It shows the rate by which the CPS and the police are making decisions which cohere with the judgement of the public, as embodied in the jury. A high conviction rate means that the jury is agreeing more often with the state’s application of the law.
So today, the CPS is charging more cases but getting a lower ratio of convictions overall. Anonymity would compound this problem, by further removing the decision-making around these prosecutions from public scrutiny. There would be a clear temptation on the part of both the CPS and the police to continue to charge more and more cases on weaker evidence, in the knowledge that their cases would be played out away from the public gaze. The prosecutorial authorities need to know that their decisions will be scrutinised.
Anonymity merely creates a climate in which the CPS is better able to charge more people in the hope of improving the conviction rate. Anonymity will not prevent the disastrous impact that such an approach to prosecuting these cases can have on the lives of both defendants and complainants.
Defendant anonymity is a terrible idea in whatever form it takes. It is only being seriously thought about because of a cultural abandonment of the presumption of innocence around rape. It is foolish, and dangerous, to think that the problems arising from our abandonment of that enlightened principle can be solved by sacrificing universal ideals of justice for some pragmatic tweaks to the system.
originally posted by: VoidHawk
What needs to be sorted out is the publics reaction to such things.
As you point out, we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, and yet for the very large majority, simply hearing about it on the tv is evidence enough!
IMO, both should have anonymity if they request it.
In the 12 months to March 2013, there were about 10,000 recorded rapes of adults in England and Wales, and 6,000 recorded rapes of children