This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the second reading of the Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill [HL] in the House of Lords on 1 March 2019.
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The Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Paddick (Liberal Democrat). The bill received its first reading in the House of Lords on 4 July 2017 and is due to receive its second reading on 1 March 2019. The Bill proposes to prohibit the publication of information about those who have been arrested—including their name, address and image—until they have been charged. The bill also outlines circumstances where these restrictions would not apply. Setting out the purpose of the bill, Lord Paddick explained:
There have recently been a series of cases where historic sexual offence allegations have received extensive coverage in the media but have not led to any criminal charges, ruining reputations. While these have involved high-profile individuals, other cases have ruined the reputations of ordinary people locally when criminal allegations have been made public, even when the Crown Prosecution Service takes no further action. The bill would make it unlawful for the identity of a person arrested to be published unless or until either they are charged with, or summonsed for, an offence, or a judge agrees that it is in the interests of justice, the public interest or human rights, to do so. It would apply to all criminal offences and not just those of a sexual nature.