Sex offenders must have chance to change, says Supreme Court
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday (21 April) that individuals should not be kept on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life without the possibility of review.
The ruling follows a case brought by two sex offenders, one of whom had committed a sex offence when he was only eleven, but was expected to stay on the Register for the rest of his life. The judges did not dispute that some offenders should be kept on the Register for life, but said that it was wrong to expect this to happen with no possibility of review in individual cases.
Until now, any sex offender sentenced to prison for two and a half years or longer has been placed on the Register for life. There are 32,000 registered sex offenders in England and Wales, around half of whom are subject to lifelong monitoring.
“It is obvious that there must be some circumstances in which an appropriate tribunal could reliably conclude that the risk of an individual carrying out a further sexual offence can be discounted to the extent that continuance of notification requirements is unjustified” said the President of the Supreme Court.
One of the offenders who brought the case, who is still a teenager and known as F, was only eleven when he raped another child. His solicitor, Mike Pemberton, said that his client should have a chance to show that he had changed.
“This case is important because it considers the rights of a child to mature and develop,” he said, “At present, any child who commits an offence of this type is labelled for life with no consideration being given to the effect of growing older and learning important lessons from previous mistakes”.