After section 3

Part of Sexual Offences (Procedure and Evidence) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:00 pm on 6th March 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Phil Gallie Phil Gallie Conservative 3:00 pm, 6th March 2002

No. Women who have been affected by the crime of rape deserve anonymity. They should not have their names plastered across the press. Anonymity is not offered to anyone in cases of any other crime that I can think of that comes before a court. Rape is a special instance, which is why I emphasise the point.

I ask members to read the story of Andrew Bond in the Daily Mail of 23 February. At times, when the police get involved in a case, they see the interests of the victim as those of the woman against whom the crime has been perpetrated—as they feel to be the case—and they are a little bit slow in looking at all the aspects. That was certainly the situation in the case of Andrew Bond. The police had evidence before their eyes that proved his innocence from the start, but he lost his university career and had his life turned upside down although he was totally innocent from beginning to end. Those are the kinds of cases that we must examine.

I have concentrated on the crime of rape. I was tempted to speak about the sexual abuse of children, but if the message were to be put out that anonymity would be granted in rape cases, perhaps judges in our courts would take account of that. I point to the case in Ayrshire, last July. The case collapsed in the Court of Session and left individuals without the opportunity to prove their innocence. They have been left stained. That is wrong. I feel sure that many members have a lot of sympathy with the Cairns family and others who were caught up in that case. Had a level of anonymity been offered to them and maintained throughout the trial, a lot of damage would not have been done.

I move amendment 10.