England: Lawyer calls for register of false rape accusers
A lawyer has called for people who make false rape allegations to be stripped of anonymity and named on a public register.
Nick Freeman, known as ‘Mr Loopole’, made the comments after the case of Liam Allan, 22, whose rape trial collapsed after it emerged that the alleged victim was lying.
Mr Freeman said: “The time has come for there to be a register where the names of those who make these disgraceful and disgusting allegations are added.
“Sadly, Mr Allan’s case is not a one off. It is one of many - the tip of the iceberg. False allegations are made on a daily basis, and those who make them can hide behind a lifelong veil of anonymity.
“That is not the case with the defendant. They are named - often before being charged with a crime. And such is the unique stigma associated with these type of allegations, their reputations are traduced and this can often result in life-changing consequences.”
Mr Allan, a criminology student, had been on bail for two years and was charged with six counts of rape and six sexual assaults.
However, his defence team had been refused access to the woman’s telephone records, with police saying they contained nothing of interest.
But when they were handed over they revealed messages from the complainant pestering Mr Allan, for sex.
Judge Peter Gower halted the trial and called for an inquiry at the ‘very highest level’ into the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over its failures in the case.
Mr Allan is due to sue the CPS and Metropolitan Police.
Labour MP Liz McInnes told the Manchester Evening News, however, that a register would only create difficulty for genuine victims.
She said: “I would be quite wary about changing the law on the basis of one case. In that particular case justice was done in the end and I don’t see any reason to change the law around anonymity.
“I think the statistics show that the numbers of false allegations are very, very small compared to the total number of cases. If there were statistics showing that a large number of rape allegations were false then it would be different, but that’s not the case.
“It’s a bit of a knee-jerk response to one case and I really don’t think British law should be based on extraordinary cases. I wouldn’t want to see anything come in that would put off women reporting sexual assault.”
She added: “In the end the fact that so few cases are actually found to be malicious means it would be a pretty pointless exercise.
“Rape cases are notoriously difficult and it would just be an extra hurdle, it would legitimise the idea that women who complain are lying which unfortunately does tend to be a bit of a default position.
“Women are put off from reporting rape because they think they won’t be believed and this database will further deter women. Naming and shaming like this is not the way forward.”