James Meager blogged on Friday:
This blog can reveal that [deleted by DPF as post linked to has now deleted the name] was arrested last Thursday and charged with indecent assault. The charges relate to multiple occasions where [name deleted], while while under the influence of alcohol, indecently assaulted a female victim who was known to him. Particular details regarding the incidents are being withheld to protect the identity of the victim.
The name of the alleged victim is automatically supressed by statute, specifically s139 of the Criminal Justice Act.
What surprised me, was reading the comments (which are now deleted but stayed up for a fair while) in which the person charged commented and said:
In case you are curious what happened: I got drunk at my flat some time ago, and groped [name of victim]’s breast. I was too drunk to remember what happened, but when I discovered what had happened (through being told the next morning), I sent her an apology via text. As far as I was concerned, that was the end of the matter, and this person has come around on to my flat since then, with nothing untoward happening. The person then, completely out of the blue, decided to press charges. No, I have not plead guilty: having received diversion means the process does not get that far, and this does not constitute a conviction. I have complied fully with the police, and I believe (hopefully) that that is the end of the matter. So there you are: I got drunk and groped a breast, and apologised afterwards. That’s all there is to it.
I was staggered that the person charged named the victim. Not only is it illegal in itself, but it could have the Police decide not to offer diversion.
But then even more unusually, the victim commented under her own name:
I am the victim. Being drunk is no excuse. I did not press charges out of the blue but rather agonised over it for two weeks, whilst my anxiety disorder spiralled out of control and I suffered nightmares. As a friend, who I felt I had shared close times with, I was saddened and disappointed that [name deleted] was not sorry. A text is not an apology; facing your victim, accepting responsibility (not blaming the booze) and saying sorry sincerely is an apology. Getting alcohol counselling shows you are sorry. Bitching and moaning and getting revenge is not sorry. FYI – you cannot get a diversion unless you admit that you have done it ie you are guilty.
Now this raises an interesting question. Is it illegal for a victim to name herself? The Act says a victim can apply to the court (if aged over 16) for their name to longer be suppressed, but in theory I would say naming outing yourself could be an offence.
And does the victim naming herself effectively let [name deleted] off the hook for doing so?
Tags: name suppression