News In Focus
No protection for rape suspects’ identity in Scotland
The Scottish Government seems set to break with UK-wide plans to protect the anonymity of suspects in rape cases, it has emerged. Proposals to protect the identities of both victims and suspects were floated for England & Wales in May, prompting an angry response from women’s groups.
The question of anonymity for rape suspects is a vexed one, with proponents arguing it would help prevent the stigma which often attaches itself even to those not found guilty, while others express concern it would deter women from coming forward.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill wrote in a letter to SNP MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville: “I’m pleased the Scottish Government will not be following Westiminster’s example.”
“There is no reason why those accused of rape should be singled out for anonymity – indeed, such an approach appears to suggest that rape victims are more likely to be making false allegations than other victims.”
The revelation follows publication of new figures from the Crown Office, showing successful convictions for sex offences increased by around 50% in 2007-08.