Sex offender registration appeals introduced

Prisoner The government has said it was "appalled" by the Supreme Court ruling

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Sex offenders in England and Wales can now appeal against staying on the sex offenders register for life - 15 years to the day since it was introduced.

Ministers said they would make "minimum possible changes" to comply with a 2010 Supreme Court ruling.

Sex offenders will have to wait 15 years after leaving prison to appeal.

Labour has opposed the change while the NSPCC said "paedophiles who have been put on the sex offender register for life must remain there".

Those sentenced to more than 30 months for a sex-related crime - against a child or an adult - can be required to register with police for life.

The government has estimated that a maximum of 1,200 sex offenders will be eligible for a review each year.

Reviews will be considered by individual police forces.

In Scotland - where the government has already amended laws to let those convicted seek a review after 15 years on the register - final decisions are taken by the courts.

A consultation on changing the law has taken place in Northern Ireland but proposals have not yet been put forward.

'No cure'

The Supreme Court ruled that denying offenders the right of appeal was incompatible with their human rights , shortly before the 2010 general election.

The offenders who brought the challenge said that permanent inclusion on the register with no chance of a review was disproportionate.

Although the Supreme Court said an appeal should be possible, it underlined that it was entirely lawful to monitor someone for life if they are a danger to society.

Start Quote

We will monitor the appeals process closely and will raise concerns if we believe the civil liberties of convicted sex offenders are being put before the protection of children”

End Quote NSPCC

The then Labour government said the ruling stated it should be "open to Parliament" to maintain the current position if it saw fit, so long as there was provision in law to review matters in future if it became appropriate to do so.

In February last year, Home Secretary Theresa May told the Commons the government was "appalled" by the Supreme Court ruling, but there was no possibility of further appeal.

NSPCC chief executive Andrew Flanagan said the charity had "sadly been told the legal ruling could not be overturned".

"There is no proven or recognised 'cure' for adult sex offenders who abuse children and they must therefore always be considered a risk," he said.

"Physical and emotional harm caused by sexual abuse can damage children's lives.

"We will monitor the appeals process closely and will raise concerns if we believe the civil liberties of convicted sex offenders are being put before the protection of children."

'Protect public'

Last year, the government outlined plans to tighten up "loopholes" in the registration system including making it compulsory for offenders to tell police if they planned to travel abroad for one day - as opposed to the current three days or more.

A Home Office spokesman said the department was doing everything it could "to protect the public from predatory sex offenders".

"The review process for offenders is robust and puts public protection first. It also prevents sex offenders from wasting taxpayers' money by repeatedly challenging our laws," he said.

"Sex offenders who continue to pose a risk will remain on the register for life."

The Sex Offenders Act, which was prompted by public concern about increasing reports of paedophile activity, created the Sex Offenders Register, introduced on 1 September 1997.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    We have a system that already fails our young who are vulnerable (the recent Grooming of young white girls by Asian gangs) and only 1 in ten rape cases ending in a conviction. This Government does not take rape and abuse serious enough, not only do we need to make sure sex offenders are punished but that they should have to stay on the list until they die.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Anyone on the SOR *** FOR LIFE*** and not for some minor offence, could appeal their sentence. If it is reduced below 30 months then they won't be on the register for life automatically. If they fail they stay on. There should not be a disconnect between the two by allowing appeals about the register without an appeal about the crime.

    Do the crime... do the time..

  • Comment number 69.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    No one should be burdened for life for what may have been a very minor infringement. There should be a way to appeal. Real paedophiles will be known and, rightly, will stand no chance but the teenage boy who had sex with his (just) underage girlfriend should be treated with some sympathy. There are degrees of seriousness in all crimes but the system at present treats all sex offenders the same.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    So Ms T. May is "appalled", and Mr Flanagan asserts that sex offenders are incurably ill. May we hope that our excellent home secretary can sufficiently master her emotions to deliver objectivity in all future matters for which she carries some responsibility, and that Mr Flanagan can be good enough to appraise us of the sexual pathology about which he claims forensic expertise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    As a parent, I support the idea that for those guilty of a serious sex offence, that information should be discretely used to monitor their future activity.

    I don't support however, the lynch mob hysteria that seems to want to make it impossible for them to attempt to live any sort of normal life after release, or the idiots that keep complaining that the 'Human Rights Act' should be abolished!

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Its very easy to make sweeping judgements but if someone says they no longer offend and they have been well behaved for 15 years then perhaps they should be taken off the register? Isn't it a waste of the police's time them registering with the police every year and filling out a form when they go on holiday? Don't forget their offence will still stay on the PNC so it will still come up on a CRB.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    #44 Not really. There are certain people in jail I'd happily see executed. Their guilt is beyond question & their crimes so vile that I object to paying to keep them alive. A dog that bites a child will be executed after all. What I object to is the sort of person who stops listening the moment they hear 'paedo' (whether proven or not) and start demanding hanging automatically

    #59 100% agreed

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    If it's voluntary, there's no point in having it at all.

    It's just the same as any self regulation, it means no regulation.

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    When someone commits a crime, they serve their time in prison, and then that it's. They have paid their debt and it's finished. But sex offenders don't, they continue to be punished for ever. You can't keep hitting someone with the same stick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    42 Michael...

    If ever there was a post that signified gross rationalisation and ignorance..your`s is it..

    Pictures on the internet ?...You make them sound harmless and fun ?...and without victims !

    Dear God..have you no empathy...

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    "Michael Lloyd
    I know a sex offender. His offence was looking at pictures on the internet, I believe. No-one was harmed by this, no-one is at risk."

    You think pictures magically pop into existance with no harm done to the subject? The more perverts pay to look the more are produced. Your mate is responsible for abuse, whatever pathetic excuses he and you are making.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    What on earth is wrong with a right to appeal?
    Which of us has not been on the receiving end of a decision we think is unjust, heavy handed or just plain wrong?
    Some of the more knee-jerk, reactionary comments on here seem based on the rather delusional premise that everything is black & white & that they themselves are so pious as to be immune from imperfect 'justice'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    42. Michael Lloyd
    'I know a sex offender. His offence was looking at pictures on the internet...No-one was harmed by this; no-one is at risk.'

    Are you crazy? The person being abused in the pictures was harmed and more victims are at risk because people like your friend make it profitable for others to abuse. I'm glad he's on the register and I hope when he appeals he's kept on the list for life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Goverment is a joke and so far out of touch it is unbelievable, what next.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    How long before molested children can appeal the crime that got committed on them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    There have been a few comments about Ian Huntly and the sex offenders register. People need to be careful in their justification of their arguments.

    The judge noted that although a sexual component to his crimes was highly likely, it was not proven. Therefore, despite his crimes and the previous allegations made against him, Huntly will not be added the the register ... if he is ever released.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Lets make it clear. This is a right for 'on for life' offenders. example of the woman teacher and 16 year old student (male teacher treated the same... I think not!?) or the 16+1day boy and 16-1day girl (again try it the other way round!?) are simply not relevant. They are just smoke screen for the proponents of the HRA.
    You do te serious crime you should take the consequences.

  • Comment number 52.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?


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