B1063 – Suspect Protection Bill 2016 (Second Reading)

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    B1063 – Suspect Protection Bill 2016 (Second Reading), TSR Labour

    Suspect Protection Bill 2016
    An Act to ensure the identity of suspects in any investigation are not revealed until proven guilty.


    BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

    1: Definitions
    (1) Suspect refers to a person who is alleged to have committed a crime, offence, or the like.
    (2) The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the principal public prosecuting agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in England and Wales.
    (3) The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is the principal public prosecuting agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in Scotland.
    (4) The Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland is principal public prosecuting agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in Northern Ireland.
    (5) A Unilateral NDA is a non-disclosure agreement involving the police, CPS or any other law body, and a member of the public which requires that the information be protected from further disclosure.

    2: Prohibition of Revealing Suspect Identities
    (1) No one shall be allowed to reveal suspect identities or identifying characteristics of suspects to the press or the public.
    (2) Once a guilty charge has been passed, the identity of the person in question may be released.
    (3) Once a suspect is found to be innocent, all records linking them to the crime will not be put in the public domain.
    (4) The identities of suspects will be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

    3: Exemptions
    (1) Suspect names may be revealed in exceptional and clearly identified circumstances, where keeping a suspect’s identity hidden could put the public in danger.
    (2) In England and Wales the Crown Prosecution Service will make the decision as to whether a suspect's name may be revealed.
    (3) In Scotland the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will make the decision as to whether a suspect's name may be revealed.
    (4) In Northern Ireland the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland will make the decision as to whether a suspect's name may be revealed.
    (5) Witnesses may be given further details of a suspect if they can provide beneficial material to an investigation but all witnesses must sign a Unilateral NDA.
    (6) Juries and all other members present in legal trials may be given further details of a suspect but they must sign a Unilateral NDA.
    (7) All suspects have the right to reveal their identity to the public if they wish.

    4: Penalties
    (1) Disclosing the identity of a suspect in contravention of this Act shall be an offence punishable by;
    a. a prison sentence not exceeding 3 years or;
    b. a fine not exceeding £200,000 where an individual is found guilty or a fine not exceeding £1,000,000 where an organisation is found guilty.

    5: Extent, Commencement and Short Title
    (1) This Act extends to the United Kingdom.
    (2) This Act shall come into force on 1st November 2016.
    (3) This Act may be cited as the Suspect Protection Act 2016.


    Notes

    In recent years there have been several incidents where the identity of suspects has been revealed to the public via police statements or the press. Unfortunately, the leaking of such information can have several negative effects on the person in question and it is an unnecessary addition to the mounting stress they will face as part of an investigation. Theresa May is one of many high profile politicians to express concern in recent years as innocent suspects continue to be thrust into the media’s domain.

    One reason why suspect identities is because the public judge too fast. Unfortunately many people strongly believe that a suspect is guilty, even if they don’t have any evidence to justify that. Occasionally suspects may receive threats or have their property damaged. Even when a suspect is cleared they may still be impeded by others who wrongly believe they are guilty. The reputation of a suspect can be permanently damaged and as aresult, they could find it much harder to find a job or a partner in the future. Even if they are innocent, their name will be linked to a specific crime.

    Another reason why identities should not be revealed is because of the media. Media outlets, especially newspaper companies, are notafraid to slightly distort a story if they think it’s going to rake in themoney. There have been several examples of the media wrongly attacking a suspect and turning the public against them. The 2010 case involving Christopher Jefferies and the 2014 case involving Cliff Richard are just a few of many times this has sadly happened. And it’s not just the public whose views could be erroneously influenced by the media. In cases where there is strong media coverage, there is a higher chance that the jury’s interpretations may be tainted.

    Revealing the identity of suspects, no matter how minor the case, can have a significant impact on a person and the bad publicity they can pick up can potentially stay with them for the rest of their lives. The negatives of exposing suspect identities considerably outweigh the positives and it should be forbidden.


    Here are some articles related to this bill:
    http://www.debate.org/opinions/shoul...l-found-guilty
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/...7/rape-ukcrime
    http://news.sky.com/story/may-tells-...pects-10445643


    Changes for the Second Reading:
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    - Witnesses may be given further details of a suspect if they can provide beneficial material to an investigation but all witnesses must sign a Unilateral NDA.
    - Juries and all other members present in legal trials may be given further details of a suspect but they must sign a Unilateral NDA.
    - All suspects have the right to reveal their identity to the public if they wish.
    - Unilateral NDA definition has been added.
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    Much better.
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    What does this mean for people who sit in on trials and court proceedings? It seems it would stop this and that is not something I could support we should be making the decisions openly not behind closed doors in secret courts.
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    (Original post by joecphillips)
    What does this mean for people who sit in on trials and court proceedings? It seems it would stop this and that is not something I could support we should be making the decisions openly not behind closed doors in secret courts.
    Read the changes, I mentioned this earlier and they only have to sign non-disclosure documents.
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    (Original post by joecphillips)
    What does this mean for people who sit in on trials and court proceedings? It seems it would stop this and that is not something I could support we should be making the decisions openly not behind closed doors in secret courts.
    This bill would not prevent people from attending trials and court proceedings at all. All these people would have to do is sign a unilateral NDA, as mentioned in this second reading.
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    Still completely broken and makes capturing criminals significantly harder.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    Still completely broken and makes capturing criminals significantly harder.
    How?
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    (Original post by Quamquam123)
    This bill would not prevent people from attending trials and court proceedings at all. All these people would have to do is sign a unilateral NDA, as mentioned in this second reading.
    I missed that, thanks for pointing it out for me.
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    (Original post by Quamquam123)
    How?
    For the exact same reason as in the first reading.
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    (Original post by Quamquam123)
    This bill would not prevent people from attending trials and court proceedings at all. All these people would have to do is sign a unilateral NDA, as mentioned in this second reading.
    This is what I wanted to see in the bill.
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    FWIW this does make capturing some criminals - especially those where the crime is one where the victim may feel shame or embarrassment - harder; however, I feel that the notion of innocence until proven guilty is absolutely fundamental, and this Bill reinforces that. A strong aye, and a Bill I am very proud to see my friend Quamquam123 write.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    FWIW this does make capturing some criminals - especially those where the crime is one where the victim may feel shame or embarrassment - harder; however, I feel that the notion of innocence until proven guilty is absolutely fundamental, and this Bill reinforces that. A strong aye, and a Bill I am very proud to see my friend Quamquam123 write.
    What if we had CCTV of the crime happening and then released that to the public to help ID? Does that not help massively?
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    (Original post by Aph)
    What if we had CCTV of the crime happening and then released that to the public to help ID? Does that not help massively?
    That isn't releasing the suspect's identity.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    That isn't releasing the suspect's identity.
    Read 2: (1)
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    (Original post by Aph)
    Read 2: (1)
    Hmmmm, this might need a third reading...

    Quamquam123
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    aye
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    Hmmmm, this might need a third reading...

    Quamquam123
    I am inclined to agree. I will have a good look at this.
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    Aye
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    This bill is in cessation.
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    Division! Clear the lobbies!
 
 
 
Updated: October 27, 2016
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