Hello anyone who sees this. Just wanted to ask if someone could read over my LNAT essay and give me tips on what I did well, and what I need to improve on.
“Should people accused of a criminal offence retain anonymity?”
Anonymity is when a person's identity, such as name, sex or age remain unknown to the public in relation to a court case. There is no doubt that there are many pros and cons to this subject, but I intend to focus on it being provided due to stigma and privacy but I also intend to show that retaining anonymity shouldn’t be possible as it can be used as an act of deterrence.
The question states “accused” not guilty. That being said, even if the accused is found not guilty, there can be a stigma around that person post trial. This can affect different aspects of a person's life such as finding it harder to find a job or being accepted by different communities. For example, Daniel Cieslak was a man accused of having sexual intercourse with a girl whom he believed was older and of the appropriate age to engage with the act. Even though he was acquitted due to not knowing the real age of the girl, he faces stigma, with news articles referring to him as a rapist. I have assumed that Cieslak has faced societal issues following his trial. How would employers have felt towards him when assessing his suitability for a job? Therefore, it is important for people to retain anonymity as it can affect those who are innocent.
Moreover, we need to think about those in close proximity to the accused, such as family or friends. It would be legally right to provide privacy for the accused, especially in today’s society where people can access each other online. If a person is accused of a heinous crime, people online may start attacking family and friends who are close to the defendant, no matter how innocent those people are. Loved ones of the defendant such as parents may already be disappointed and upset, thinking that they didn’t train their child right (if the person is guilty), yet people still apply pressure onto them, lowering their self-esteem and increasing mental health issues for them. This therefore shows that anonymity is needed in order to protect others and not just the defendant.
However, disregarding anonymity could be an act of deterrence. If people are aware that they could potentially be shamed for their prohibited act, it could influence their will to commit the offence. This would also make it easier for courts to determine issues such as whether the defendant had the mens rea for the act which can sometimes be difficult to do, as it will show that the defendant did intend to carry out the act despite the consequences. By allowing anonymity, accused persons who are found guilty may not feel the full extent of their crime without being exposed to the public. This therefore shows that anonymity should not be provided in order to maximise the deterrence of crimes.
Overall, I believe that anonymity should be provided because we may not understand how we affect people's lives by putting the accused in the spotlight, and ultimately disrupting their way of living.