From left: Central Criminal Court, Dublin; Barrister Tom O’Malley
A working group has recommended to the government that anonymity should be granted to those accused of all sexual offences including child sexual exploitation.
The review of protections for witnesses in sexual offence cases, chaired by barrister Tom O’Malley, says there does not appear to be ‘any logical reason’ why accused people should be entitled to anonymity in a rape trial but not in a sexual assault trial.
At present those accused of sexual offences other than rape or aggravated sexual assault can be named after being charged.
…It says consideration should also be given to giving anonymity to people charged with other sexual offences including child sexual exploitation offences and offences against people with mental illness and intellectual disability.
But the review says the case for restricting the publication of the names of people charged with what are called child pornography offences, is not particularly strong and would raise questions about how many other offences should be treated in a similar way.
Last week, therapy services said they are no longer asking child sex abuse victims to disclose their abusers’ names due to a Tusla policy mandating that alleged abusers must be informed of any complaints.