Sex crime protection 'not weakened'

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Currently anyone sentenced to at least 30 months in prison for a sexual offence is placed on the sex offenders register for life

Public protection from paedophiles and rapists will not be weakened by letting them bid to have their names removed from the sex offenders register, Nick Clegg has said.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Government was obliged to act on a Supreme Court ruling but would not “let our guard down” against those who commit “almost evil” crimes.

Home Office officials are preparing new rules after failing to overturn the ruling that it is a breach of offenders’ human rights to be put on the register for life with no review.

Mr Clegg said he would not predict how any new scheme would operate but insisted that ministers were determined it should not result in weaker controls.

“The last thing I want to see is people who have committed serious sexual offences disappear off the radar screen,” he told London’s LBC Radio. “We have some of the toughest and best checks and controls on sex offenders anywhere in the world and we are not going to let our guard down.”

He went on: “Let me be very clear: I am personally – and I am sure I speak for the whole Government – staunchly opposed to anything which weakens public protection against people who have committed really, really serious – in some cases almost evil – sexual offences. We are not going to do that.”

When the ruling was given, the president of the court, Lord Phillips, said it was obvious 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 could be discounted.

Two convicted sex offenders went to the High Court in 2008 where three judges ruled that their “indefinite” registration with no right of review was “incompatible” with their rights to privacy. This decision, won by a teenager referred to as JF, and Angus Thompson from Newcastle, was upheld by three judges at the Court of Appeal in 2009.

JF was convicted of two offences of rape of a child under 13 and other sexual offences. He was 11 at the time of the assaults. In October 2005 he was sentenced to 30 months’ detention by Liverpool Crown Court and released on licence in January 2007.

Thompson was sentenced in November 1996 to five years’ imprisonment on two counts of indecent assault on a female and other offences of actual bodily harm. He was released in April 2000.

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