Right to Challenge Registration
If government proposals become law, sex offenders will have the right to have their names and addresses removed from the sex offenders register if they can show they pose no further risk to the public. Pete Weatherby of GCN, was interviewed for Lexis Nexis Current Awareness (published 2.3.11), about the impact the introduction of the proposals could have.
Extracts from the article as follows:
In R (on the application by JF (by his litigation friend OF)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Supreme Court held the sex offender notification requirements were incompatible with art 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights because there was no provision for a review of indefinite notification requirementsâeven where an ex-offender had been out of trouble for many years. Pete Weatherby explains: âOne of the Claimants before the Court was eleven years old when he was convicted. Without a change in the law he could still be subject to the requirements 60 or 70 years onâeven if he got into no further trouble. It was argued that the available research tended to suggest that an un-reconvicted sex offender has a similar risk as a person who has never been convicted of a sex offence after about 15 years.â
He says: âIf that is so, keeping such ex-offenders on notification requirements without review not only breaches their rights under art 8, but also must reduce the efficacy of the requirements themselves and lead to significant unnecessary administration. The necessary amendment will have to provide a review mechanism after a significant risk free period; perhaps 15 years. The onus is likely to remain on the ex-offender to persuade the review body he is no longer a significant risk, and the review will be able to err on the side of public protection in any but the clearest of cases.â
However, he expresses his concern that a worrying feature is the hysteria the proposals have recently provoked in the media, and the current backlash against the Convention. He explains: âIt is to be hoped that the mindless populism of some politicians will not be allowed to damage adherence to the Convention. The debate and battle over fundamental rights is often played out in respect to persons who are unpopular with the tabloids, such as prisoners and sex offenders. But such rights are important to us all.â