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Anonymity essentially ensures that in legal proceedings the press or the public cannot name certain individuals. There are two main thoughts regarding criminals right to retain anonymity.. One is that there are more and more reports that criminals deserve protection from inhuman and degrading treatment by the society. The second is that there seems to be so many child criminals who deserve protection according to the Human rights law.
Let’s begin with the claim that criminals under the age of 18 deserve to retain anonymity. The argument is that they deserve anonymity to reduce re-offending rates. The law already agrees to protect children under the age of 18 due to their physical and mental immaturity but what happens once they turn 18? Does all the protection fade away? Newspapers have the right to report their name which beats the idea of anonymity during their teenage years. If they lose anonymity, it will prevent them from being able to move on and live a ‘normal life’. The years spent rehabilitating the children will have been for nothing.Their future will fall apart with a mere mention on the front page due to the stigmatization that follows. Everywhere they go they will be seen as a criminal, it will be harder for them to get jobs and thus harder for them to make a living for themselves. Anonymity ensures that no matter the age they will be able to make an honest living and attempt to get their life together.
However, there are several counter-arguments to the thought of a child criminal deserving anonymity. Whether they are a child or not, they committed the crime knowing fully what they were about to do was wrong. Their identification gives a sort of dignity to their victim and their family, which they deserve. But this is not necessarily true. As argued children lack the emotional and mental maturity to fully understand and grasp the consequences of what they have done. Therefore, they deserve to have their name remain disclosed from the public to protect them and their mistakes from public scrutiny when they get released.
Furthermore, all named criminals suffer an additional punishment because of society's treatment and perception of the crime. Do criminals not deserve the same protection from inhuman and degrading treatment? They are already suffering from the consequences of their actions, so what right does it give society to decide they need to be punished more? The judges word should be law and the people should not take justice into their own hands. There have been several incidents of riots at a sex offenders home once their identity was leaked to the public. Not just one or two people but thousands. A criminal’s family suffers abuse and torment at the hands of society. What have they done to deserve the inhuman treatment but be related to the offender? They cannot choose who their blood is as much as we cannot either. It is not just for the innocent family, but the sanity and well being of an offender that they deserve to retain criminal anonymity. It is only fair.
Conversely, the public has a right to know about the serious criminal offenders in the country. They deserve to be aware that their neighbour, school teacher or best friend has committed a criminal offence. Going into a house to rob a family, or shooting a gun to gain their possessions has no excuse. They knew what they were doing was an offence and it is only fair that they pay the price for their crime. They ruined their own future, the media is not responsible for what happens upon release from inside the prison cells.
Criminal anonymity matters because it serves offenders with the rights humans deserve. As a legal system, there is a right to keep up with the human rights law and prevent society serving their definition of justice which could be life-threatening and adverse to the innocent family suffering from the consequences.