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back to article Sex offenders will get a review – after 15 years

Government ministers are bracing themselves for a storm of protest today, as the Home Secretary announced plans in the Commons to grant sex Offenders the right to appeal against a continued obligation to notify the authorities of their whereabouts. This follows a case in the UK Supreme Court last year in which two convicted sex …

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Dead Vulture

Will The Register now change it's name to ...

The SexOffenders Reg?

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Argh!!! Pedogeddon

Just listerning to the MP's it seems like Armageddon. I don;t think it will make much of a difference, as just think how hard it is going to be to prove you will never be a threat again. Instead they aught to make it that jobs were your previous sex offence has no impact on your job performance sex offenders, should not be discriminated against. Then being on the sex offenders register will not be such a human rights issue.

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Really need to proof read things before posting

Take 2:

Just listening to the MP's, it seems like Armageddon. I don't think it will make much of a difference, as just think how hard it is going to be to prove you will never be a threat again.

Instead they aught to make it that for jobs where your previous sex offense has no impact on your job performance, sex offenders should not be discriminated against. Then being on the sex offenders register will not be such a human rights issue.

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Headmaster

Really need to be sure of your shit before grammar-Naziing

You missed:

MP's => MPs

aught => ought

sex offenders register => Sex Offenders' Register

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Happy

Re: proof reading

You ought to spell check while at it ;)

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FAIL

Why...

...don't the government just tell the Supreme Court to go and fuck themselves with a large stick on this occasion?

These are peadophiles and rapists we're talking about here, the worst kind of criminal in my book. Even if it is possible to rehabilitate someone of this persuasion (something that is very difficult to prove), the fact they have committed a crime of this nature in the past should be reason enough to at least keep tabs on them.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Why...

That's 'peadophiles', rapists, bicycle-fondlers, curtain-twitchers, furtive wankers and people who were convicted of a very wide range of things they may not actually have done, to be more precise.

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Anonymous Coward

Rule of Law

"Why don't the government just tell the Supreme Court to go and fuck themselves with a large stick on this occasion?"

Rule of Law.

(Not to be confused with rule by law, which is something very, very different.)

If the government was able to just decide for itself whether or not Supreme Court rulings applied, the government would effectively be above the law. Whenever the government disliked a Supreme Court ruling, it could "just tell the Supreme Court to go and fuck themselves", leaving the courts powerless to stop the government just trampling all over our liberty and rights. We'd be living under tyranny (how ever nicely it's dressed up), rather than living under Rule of Law.

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@ Jord

Well that would leave an uneforcable law on the books. The courts aren't allowed to go against what precendent the senior courts have set. In fact, I think this might be the prefered option of all those kiddy-fiddlers.

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Re: Re: Why...

Will nobody think of the bicycles?

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Anonymous Coward

@Jord

"These are 16 year olds who were caught shagging their 15 year old girlfriend we're talking about here". FTFY!

Also, I'm interested in your idea that sex crimes are worse than, eg, killing people. Not that it's a huge problem, the Home Secretary seems to share your perverse views.

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FAIL

Bicycle-shaggers, @Jord

You seem to forget that the Sex Offender Registry includes a lot of things, not only paedo/rape. El Reg has a couple of innocent cases where the "sex offender" was reported as such for ... screwing a bike.

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Re: Why...

"...people who were convicted of a very wide range of things they may not actually have done..."

To have to register for life with the police in the first place, they have to have served 30 months in prison (or more) for their crime. Obviously there are people on the 'register' who have done nothing wrong, but that can be said about thousands of people who have served prison sentences for various crimes. This was not my point. If someone has served 30 months or more in prison for a sex crime, it is not likely to be because they are a 'curtain-twitcher'

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This post has been deleted by its author

Not in England

This case comes from Scotland - and may also be partly the reason why the Scottish legal review of the SOR is slightly milder than the one Theresa May just announced.

The difference is that a peculiarity (?) of the offence of Breach of the Peace in Scotland - but not throughout the rest of the UK, is that a guilty verdict may be followed with your addition to the Scottish SOR. The bike guy got done for doing something strange in his hotel room...was surprised by two cleaning ladies (who in their turn were extremely surprised by what he was doing to his bike)...and done for BotP.

The SOR notification followed.

That would be much less likely in the rest of the UK (and not just because of the esteem in which those south of the border hold their bikes).

jane

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Re: Re: Why...

People need to remember that some of the things which can have you placed on the sex offenders register are completely inappropriate.

For example, it is my understanding that if you are convicted for indecent exposure it is required that you be added to the sex offenders register.

What many people don't realise is that you can be charged with indecent exposure just for taking a leak up an alley - even if no-one actually sees your wedding tackle. If the police pass and see you up the alley or anywhere else taking a piss in public you are basically screwed.

It used to be that the police would give you a talking to and send you on your way, but with such an emphasis on performance statistics nowadays it is becoming more frequent that pissing in the street/up an alley results in being arrested and charges being filed (I have witnessed this myself several times in the past couple of years).

Then of course there are the multiple "false positive" convictions every year and of course the issue of strict liability offences.

I am not one to support paedophiles and spent many years working with abused kids and tracking down paedophiles online for law enforcement - so it is an area I have a great deal of experience in - but our current legal framework for criminal sexual acts is a complete mess.

Until such time as we can be sure our primary legislation is actually working properly (which it currently isn't) condemning people to the sex offenders registers for non sexual "crimes" or potentially innocent people, is clearly unacceptable.

People accused of sexual acts with minors for example, are pretty much guaranteed not to have a fair trial which means there are likely many miscarriages of justice in this particular area of law - it is a big issue and Theresa May needs to stop talking out of her arse and actually start looking at the problems we face instead of trying to build support for the Government kicking Human Rights into touch.

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No, actually, it's not

"These are peadophiles and rapists we're talking about here,..."

That's the common notion--people think "sex offenders" are pedophiles and rapists. And, it is true, some of them are.

But the overall majority of folks on the various sex offender registries aren't. The politicians love to be able to say "There are tens of thousands of REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS living ALL AROUND YOU!!!11oneone", because it's scary and scared people are easy to manipulate, but the reality is a bit different.

Just for the sake of curiosity, about two years ago I spent an entire afternoon looking at the sex offender registry in the city I lived in (Tampa, Florida, USA at the time). The registry is available on the Web, together with the corresponding docket numbers and court cases.

I found a LOT of people (more than 1,500 living nearby, in fact), but startlingly few "pedophiles and rapists". It's astonishing what people were on the Registry for--taking a whiz in an alley in the middle of the night (that's a sex offense? Really?), "lewd and lacivious behavior" (between two adults who were fully dressed), "transmitting an indecent or lascivious communication over a computer network" (still not sure what that was about--cybering, perhaps?), and my personal favorite, "lewd and lascivious act/child/victim under 12 months old."

That last one sounds like a serious, hard-core pedophile, right? The sort of incorrigible violent offender we all need protecting from, right? I looked up his court case. Turns out he was a guy who'd been driving along the interstate and stopped by the side of the road to take a leak. If you expose your genitals in a public place within so many feet of a minor, regardless of context or circumstance, that becomes a "lewd and lascivious act on a minor." His 2-month-old child was asleep in the car at the time, and, well...

If you really think that we're talking about "peadophiles and rapists," you're not paying attention.

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@ Franklin

"If you really think that we're talking about "peadophiles and rapists," you're not paying attention."

No, it is you who hasn't paid attention.

"There is no centrally held register of sex offenders in the UK, but the Home Office says the system of notifying the police is commonly known as the sex offenders register." (source: BBC news - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12476979).

There is no official sex offenders register in the UK. What we are referring to here are people who have served 30+ months in prison for serious sex crimes, and have to register with the police every day for the rest of their lives. There will obviously be failings in the system and people will have to be on the 'sex offenders register' when they don't deserve to be, but Mr. bicycle shagger, and people who 'take a whiz' in the middle of the night are unlikely to have served 30+ months in prison for their crimes, are they?

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Depends if you believe in rehabilitation and redemption.

Just because you have served 30+ does not mean you will ever do it again, or that you are a threat, seems only fair to me that for some offenders, you can appeal and be taken off, if you are not a threat to society.

Sadly it is also true that some offenders are not curable, or redeemable, but we should give those who are a chance.

We do for murderers and drug dealers for multiple crimes, why shouldn't we for one off sex offenders who have learnt their lessons.

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Oh excellent, more pseudo-moralising from twats who are not lawyers.

So....the government's stance is basically that you can't reform a sex offender, but you can release them into the community after they've served the sentence attached to their criminal conviction. Or am I missing something?

I mean, let's try and be internally consistent here - there's no Murderer's Register, but murder is one of The Big Ones when it comes to The List Of Shit You're Not Supposed To Do, right alongside things like rape.

So why is it, exactly, that the legal system considers it believable for someone to say "I was a murderer but I got better" but not if a rapist says the same sort of thing?

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It's because

The majority of murders are simply one-off crimes - either crimes of passion or revenge, that won't be repeated.

There are very few repeat offending murderers, thankfully, and the ones that are usually find themselves locked up for life in Broadmoor or Ashworth.

Paedophilia is a mental illness that cannot be cured, look at the likes of Gary Glitter, they see no wrong in what they do, and without admission of guilt there is little or no chance of them stopping offending...

ps and no, cutting their balls off does not work...

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Anonymous Coward

more pseudo-moralising from twats who are not lawyers

Right back at you!

Murder has one outcome - the victim is dead. In most cases, murderers are in prison for a substantial amount of time, and if they've commited more than one, will often never be released. And fine, there isn't a register. But the Police will still pull in the "Usual Suspects"

Sex offenders may only have been convited of something that gains them months in prison (flasher), but you really want to track them afterwards.

EVERYONE, should have the right of appeal. Doesn't mean their appeal will be granted.

Shawshank Redemption: "I know how you feel, I'm up for rejection next week"

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I agree...

Internet trolling is a mental illness that cannot be cured, look at the likes of Alan '6', they see no wrong in what they do, and without admission of guilt there is little or no chance of them stopping offending...

PS. and no, cutting their fingers off does not work...

(Although sometimes we do have to correct their spelling.....)

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You can't generalise the behaviours involved in a range of crimes as wide as this, though

You do realise that "sex offender" isn't limited to "child molester", yes? Indecent exposure is one thing that can get you on the register if you're unlucky, which means that (for example) having One Dring Too Many, then arguing with the policeman who bollocks you for weeing in an alley can end up with you being on the register.

Still sound like a good idea?

And that's before we get to "the majority of murders are simply one-off crimes" - do we have a valid statistical analysis comparing the instances of murder and previous/subsequent violent crimes with instances of sexual offences and previous/subsequent sexual crimes? Because, well, without such a statistical analysis, trying to make a generalised comparison between the two is an exercise in futility.

It'd be nice if the legal system worked on a basis of rehabilitating and reforming criminals to reintroduce them to society or permanently remove them in cases where they can't be safely reintroduced. Bullshit grandstanding like Theresa Mays "ZOMG THINK OF THE PUBLIC" comment, predicated on a notion that All Sex Offenders Are The Same, does nothing to promote that. It'll go down well with people who want a Simple Solution and See Things In Black And White, though, because You're Either With Us Or Against Us.

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LPF

@Captain Underpants

Stop talking rubbish!!!

The people put for life on a sex offenders registers, are not people caught taking a whizz up against a pub wall! YOU KNOW THAT so stop actingas if you have a room temperture IQ

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WTF?

erm what?

I suggest you go an look at the statistics on how many people convicted of assault, murder, affray and other violent crimes go on to repeat offend before making blanket unqualified statements.

Furhermore, you state categorically that paedophilia is a "mental illness" more completely unqualified nonsense.

Try researching the issue you are commenting on instead of just typing utter tripe.

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erm..

Actually YES IT CAN - granted it may be infrequent, but it happens.

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@LPF

"The people put for life on a sex offenders registers, are not people caught taking a whizz up against a pub wall! YOU KNOW THAT so stop actingas if you have a room temperture IQ"

Your faith in the judicial process is touching.

You may think that's the case, but a few hours with a Web browser and the URL of any sex offender registry should be enough to convince you that it's not.

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Anonymous Coward

"cutting their balls off does not work."

It depends which bit you throw away.

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Murder

If you are convicted of murder you have to get a life sentence.

On being released you are only done so "under license".

This is in effect a register as you can be recalled at any time and under very low levels of evidence.

Not sure how far they go back up the legal ladder but don't think there has to be a trial or anything like that.

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FAIL

Morality

What a lot of people don't seem to realised is that social mores change over time - to the poster claiming sex offenders had a mental illness, go back in time a few centuries and marriages of 13 year olds were perfectly normal.

The same applies to a lot of the "sex offence" crimes

Now, I'm not saying it's right or acceptable today - We as a society have decided what the laws are (again, avoiding the question of how much the laws are based on sensible opinion and how much on daily fail reader's moral outrage) - But whatever the case, I don't see how you can classify it as a mental illness.

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another wrong one...

For indecent exposure, you have to have been sentenced to imprisonment or a community sentence of at least 12 months. You are exceptionally unlikely to get this for urinating in the street / alley, unless there are significant aggravating factors, in which case it's not just pissing up an alley.

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I approve.

When a 17 year old can be put on the register for sending a pic of themselves in the buff to their respective partner, there needs to be some kind of review process. They could do any which thing they want with any member of the opposite gender (homosexual consent is 18), but god forbid someone should see some skin on a camera!

If anything, this review process has been too long coming. Those who are a threat will still be on the register, those who did something silly 15 years ago will be aloud to get on with their lives, exactly as rehab. of offenders should work.

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Anonymous Coward

some pedantry

"any member of the opposite gender (homosexual consent is 18)"

Huh? No it isn't, it's been 16 for yonks.

But the rest of your comment was spot on...

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Close...

My understanding (though this may just be Australia) is that it isn't illegal to have pictures of 16 year olds (legal age of consent) if they were given freely from the person. It is illegal to BUY images/videos of 16 & 17 year olds however.

This is mostly to do with the fact that you can have sex with them, but you can't pay for sex with them.

Imagery follows a similar principle on this one...

However if you replace 17 with 15 you're spot on. Particularly "funny" when they are sending it to a same age (or younger) bf/gf and getting in trouble for it...

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Anonymous Coward

Still weird

Still never can understand why any crime involving naked skin has a greater punishment than murder. To me the worst thing that can happen to someone is to be killed. That says something psychologically imbalanced in those that push so hard.

Everyone keeps talking about pedophiles, but having outdoor sex to spice up your life is also a sex crime now, at one time this would have been recommended behaviour in cosmopolitan magazine. Many if what is now deemed as a sex crime, such as extreme sex, I can still see on TV. Such as the rape scene on "Last house on the street" recently seen on Sky. Why is the director not on the sex offenders list? Pretty extreme to me.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

This is still very DM

So, I get caught with a cartoon of Lisa & Bart Simpson engaging in oral intercourse (or the 2012 Olympics logo if you prefer) on my PC, get a long prison sentence (because I'm obviously a complete and total perv and waste of O2). Get released after spending my sentence in effective solitary (because the ordinary decent criminals don't like pervs and I'm a convicted perv.) And then I have to wait _15_ years before I can appeal.

Of what about the 15yo teenager who sends a silly photo of him/her self to their SO? Same situation.

All of this presupposes that the original laws which put people onto this register are fair and just. And that the judicial process is unbiased, and that the police officers attending the case actually 'do their jobs' and don't stitch me up, because they are _sure_ that I'm hiding the _real_stuff somewhere and anyway, I'm single and I have a whole bunch of computers in my home, so, let's face it. I'm as guilty as sin right now, so why do we have to bother with the expense of a trial, just fall down these stairs sonny boyo.

</rant>

I need a lie down now.

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Grenade

Sounds like...

"Of what about the 15yo teenager who sends a silly photo of him/her self to their SO? Same situation."

Sounds like the time is ripe for a dose of mass disobedience.

Let's all set a date to send someone we know a dodgy picture of ourselves?

Like the "Draw a picture of Mohammed" day.

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Unhappy

SACK THERESA MAY!

I'm not on the side of sex offenders here, but Theresa May now seems little better than her New Labour predecessors. The only improvement - if it is an improvement - is that she seems to lack the wacquiness associated with New Labour brand Home Secretaries. But if that means she's actually more competent, that could be a bad thing, if it means she'll do a better job of undermining our rights and freedoms.

"Addressing the Commons this lunchtime, Home Secretary Theresa May said she was "disappointed and appalled by this ruling" and that "this places the rights of sex offenders above those of the rights of the public, but government has no choice"."

So, she's just the latest in a string of Home Secretaries to believe that they know better than the Supreme Court (or House of Lords for earlier cases). What a disappointment she's turned out to be.

And I don't agree that this is putting "the rights of sex offenders above those of the rights of the public", since they still have to remain on the sex offenders' register while they remain a sufficient risk to warrant such monitoring. By the sounds of it, it's only once they're demonstrably safe enough to be allowed off the register that they could then appeal to be allowed off. The rest of the public are clearly coming first.

"All relevant agencies will be consulted, and the final decision left to the police, not courts, as in Scotland: the police are best able to determine whether an individual constitutes a risk, she said."

I seem to remember Tony Blair also believed the police and security services, rather than the courts, new best when it came to protecting our society.

Even if the police do know best, that doesn't justify leaving these decisions up to them. If we apply that logic more generally, we'll end up giving the police the power to sit as judges, juries and executioners - after all, they deal with criminals all the time, so they surely know best, don't they?

I really hoped we'd got off this road towards a police state, but it seems we're still on it after all. It's as if the general election was nothing more than a stop at a service station on the way.

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Also, she seems to support outlawry.

Assuming the report is actually what she said, I find the clause "...which will assert that the rights of citizens come before those of criminals" extremely worrying. It implies that this putative Bill of Rights will remove citizenship from criminals, which will certainly make it easier for the government, since there will only be about three voters in the country after a few years!

Please, please, please, anyone in tempted to state anything along these lines - remember that a criminal is a citizen as well, and has basic rights that must be protected. Don't agree? - well, think about that speeding/drunk and disorderly/breach of the peace/littering you have in your past. Do you want to be an outlaw for the rest of your life, because that is what the assertion that a criminal is not a citizen means.

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Erm...

I hate Kiddy-Fiddlers as much as anyone... But if someone has "repaid their debt to society" then it hardly seems fair to keep punishing them. We don't keep tabs on theives after their sentance is complete.

Perhaps we need to regrade the offense.

Pure kiddy-fiddlers get auto-life.

Things like stat rape where there's a real relationship and not just child abuse get something less (eg a 15yr old and her 18 year old b/f).

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re: Erm...

So what you're saying is that there should be some kind of review process - perhaps after, say, 15 years?

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And the impure ones

get what? Auto-death?

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No... (@ Adam)

I'm sayIng abolish the register, don't let out the real fiddlers who will repeat, and let those who fall into a "mistake of circumstance" be.

If the real fiddlers don't get out, no need for a register; and those who make mistakes of passion who won't repeat can get on with their lives.

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Happy

40 years ago

When I think about the stuff we did in school (an all boys school in the midlands), and during the cross country runs (nothing like a quick wank with friends in the countryside when you're 14-15) I'm amazed that the entire population of the UK hasn't turned itself in and self-registered themselves on the sex offenders list. Out of my class of 31 boys, I'd guess that only 4-5 were "pure" in the terms of the current legislative views with the rest of us being either confirmed exhibitionists, voyeurs or both - in school and out of school ... and don't even get me started on my years in the Boy Scouts (hence the AC post). And from what I saw before and afterward, I believe that we were a representative cross section of comprehensive school kids from our community.

Yet , on the whole, we all turned out OK judging from our Friends Reunited pages - I've not heard of a single sex crime from the lot of them although one guy did a couple of years from drug dealing in his 20's.

And there's that one kid who's a Lawyer now ... at least he's not a Banker.

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@AC 16:03

"And there's that one kid who's a Lawyer now ... at least he's not a Banker."

Sounds like he was already enough of a banker back in school.

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FAIL

Why are our officials illiterate?

"this places the rights of sex offenders above those of the rights of the public, but government has no choice".

I mean seriously, does that sentence even make sense?

Not only is it a grammatical mindfuck, but sex offenders ARE members of the public.

That's what the public is, it's everyone.

I vote for an intelligent leader... oh wait that's not an option. Democracy rules!

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