Should Sex Case Defendants Be Granted Anonymity?
Nigel Evans has called for a fresh look at whether defendants in sex offence cases should get anonymity on the same level as people who “sling mud” against them as he pledged to speak up for men who are wrongly accused.
The former Tory deputy speaker, who was cleared of nine charges in court after an eleven month battle, said MPs should consider giving anonymity up to the point of charge, trial or even the lifetime protection afforded to complainants.
The coalition pledged to look at this idea when it came to power but has dropped the plans amid concern about whether it would stop further victims of an alleged sex offender coming forward.
During a round of broadcast interviews on Monday morning, Evans said: “The people who bring allegations have anonymity for the rest of their lives, yet those who are accused – it’s not just if you’re a celebrity, it could be anybody – they are not, their names are out there immediately. And it may well be that the [home affairs] committee could have a look at whether there should be some form of equanimity, whether it should be anonymity up to charge, up to trial, whatever it happens to be.”
Speaking to the BBC and ITV, the Tory MP confirmed he would not seek his old job as deputy speaker back from Eleanor Laing, saying he had plenty of things to say from the backbenches.
He also wants the Crown Prosecution Service to repay £130,000 in life savings that he spent on hiring a lawyer to defend himself.
However, the coalition’s legal cuts mean that since 2012 acquitted defendants can only reclaim costs from central funds up to the value of what they would have been due under legal aid.