Child-sex offenders can take names off register
Published 17/02/2011 | 05:00
BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is "appalled'' by a Supreme Court ruling that will give paedophiles and rapists the right to appeal against having their names on the sex offenders' register for life.
Mr Cameron insisted that there was "broad support'' across the UK to make sex offenders sign the register for life and pledged his government would take the "minimum possible approach'' to the ruling.
The government would close loopholes in the register, including forcing offenders to report to the authorities before any travel and ensuring they could not change their name by deed poll to avoid having their name placed on it.
Mr Cameron told MPs yesterday: "I am appalled by the Supreme Court ruling. We will take the minimum possible approach to this ruling.''
Police will have the final decision on whether a sex offender should remain on the register and there will be no right of appeal against a decision to keep an offender on the register, Home Secretary Theresa May said.
"Sex offenders who continue to pose a risk will remain on the register and will do so for life, if necessary," she said.
Home Office officials are preparing new rules after failing to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that it is a breach of offenders' human rights to be put on the register for life with no chance of a review.
Mrs May said: "The government is appalled by this ruling. It places the rights of sex offenders above the right of the public to be protected from the risk of reoffending, but there is no possibility of further appeal," she said.
"This government is determined to do everything we can to protect the public from predatory sexual offenders, and so we will make the minimum possible changes to the law in order to comply with this ruling."
She added: "I want to make clear that the court's ruling does not mean that paedophiles and rapists will automatically come off the sex offenders' register."
Mrs May confirmed a commitment to establish a commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights, which was in the coalition government's manifesto.
"For it is time to assert that it is Parliament that makes our laws, not the courts; that the rights of the public come before the rights of criminals; and above all, that we have a legal framework that brings sanity to cases such as these," she said,
The home secretary added that the government was taking action to close four existing loopholes in the sex offenders' register.
Offenders will be forced to report to the authorities before travelling abroad, even for one day, and will have to tell the authorities if they are living in a household with children under 18.
Sex offenders with no fixed address will have to tell authorities weekly where they can be found and rules will be tightened so they can no longer avoid being on the register when they change their name by deed poll.
Earlier, Mr Cameron said the court ruling "seems to fly completely in the face of common sense".
"Requiring serious sexual offenders to sign the register for life as they do now, I would say has broad support right across this House and right across the country," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)