Today the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee published a report following its short inquiry into police bail. As part of that report the committee recommended that, just as those who say they’ve been the victim of a sexual offence enjoy anonymity,

the same right to anonymity should also apply to the person accused of the crime, unless and until they are charged with an offence.

In response I’ve written a piece for Independent Voices. As well as opposing this idea on principle (I think it relies on wrong-headed ideas about the presumption of innocence and fairness) what struck me when writing this was how often it’s MPs themselves who keep resurrecting this debate, and how superficial their approach to it is when they raise it:

It’s worth noticing how lightly MPs have dealt with this over the years. They knew better than Dame Rose Heilbron in the Seventies, and many of them knew better than the Criminal Law Revision Committee in the Eighties. The Coalition knew better than its own manifestoes, and the Home Affairs committee knows better today, though it only heard from five witnesses – and spoke to them mainly about police bail, in fact. MPs simply don’t approach this issue with the seriousness it deserves.

I hope you’ll read the whole piece.

2015-03-20T19:33:43+00:00Tags: , |