Home Secretary Says She Will 'Look At' Pre-Charge Anonymity For Suspects

Suella Braverman: "Suspects do have a right to a fair trial - and trial by media will only undermine our justice system."
Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
Victoria Jones - PA Images via Getty Images

The home secretary has revealed she plans to “look at” pre-charge anonymity for suspects.

Suella Braverman told a meeting at the Tory conference in Birmingham that the “media circus” can be “devastating” for those wrongly accused.

She made the comments in response to a question about innocent high profile people who had been named in the media pre-charge such as Cliff Richard.

Braverman told a panel held by the Young Conservatives: “On the issue of anonymity pre-charge, I am interested in looking at that.

“I think that we’ve had some high profile instances where the media circus around a suspect - who has not been charged - can be and has been devastating.

“The decision to arrest is a very important decision. The decision to bring charges has to be reached only after certain legal tests have been satisfied.

“Looking at the evidence and looking at the public interest - those are really important decisions in the criminal justice process.

“I think coverage of people prior to charge can be very, very damaging, particularly if the charges are not pursued or they’re dropped later on.

“I think we do have to look at this issue because I think that the police need to be allowed to carry out their investigations.

“The CPS need to be allowed to carry out their decision making without pressure from the media, but individuals and suspects do have a right to a fair trial and trial by media will only undermine our justice system.”

Sir Cliff has joined forces with DJ Paul Gambaccini as part of a campaign to “redress the balance” in the legal system by seeing those accused of sexual offences remain anonymous unless they are charged.

Both men were falsely accused of historical sex offences and joined forces with pressure group Falsely Accused Individuals for Reform (Fair) to campaign for changes to legislation.

Critics of granting anonymity pre-charge argue that identifying suspects early on can encourage more alleged victims to come forward and potentially help a conviction.


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