Peer prompts law clarification - Press Gazette

Peer prompts law clarification

A peer who named in a Parliamentary debate a woman alleged to have made false allegations of sexual assault is to ask the Government to clarify the law after news organisations declined to report his comments, citing legal concerns.

In a debate last Thursday, Lord Campbell-Savours named a woman while asking a question about rape law reform. Only the Daily Mail repeated the woman's name.

Reporting parliamentary debates enjoys qualified privilege against actions for defamation, but it is unclear whether this would protect a publisher from prosecution for naming the victim of an alleged rape — a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992.

The law, said PA legal specialist Mike Dodd, is specifically aimed at journalists because it bars the publication of victims' names.

ITV Borders news editor Dave Roberts said he had been advised by lawyers to pixellate the peer's lips and remove the audio in a report about his comments. The Daily Mail declined to comment on its decision to publish the name on Monday.



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