Saturday, December 12, 2009

In defence of (some) name suppression

So, someone in the sewer has outed the olympic sportsman currently accused of rape. They're outraged that name suppression was granted in this case - and given some recent cases, where it seems to have been granted to the rich and famous solely on the basis of their manufactured celebrity, I agree there are strong reasons for suspicion. But this is not such a case. There are a number of perfectly valid reasons why pre-trial suppression orders can be granted in the interests of justice, and this clearly falls into that category. Unfortunately, making that argument would likely also breach the suppression order. So, I'll simply say this:

The accused sportsman faces four charges of rape, one abduction charge, one charge of unlawful sexual connection, five charges of assault, one of threatening to kill and one of threat of intent to injure.
These are serious charges, and if you believe the accused to be guilty of them, then what you should be hoping for is that they are tried, convicted, and punished according to law. Violating the suppression order puts that process in jeopardy. It creates instant grounds for appeal, and some risk of an acquittal to prevent a miscarriage of justice. If you think they're guilty, then that is the very last thing you should want to see happen.