Allegations Twitter users named the teenage rape victim of Sheffield United and Wales striker Ched Evans are being investigated by police and the Attorney General has warned those responsible could face prosecution.
Victims of rape have lifelong anonymity under the Sexual Offence Act but over the weekend the name of Evans's victim was reportedly one of the most popular terms on the British version of the social networking site.
Evans, 23, was jailed for five years on Friday after being found guilty of rape when the jury in the trial concluded the 19-year-old victim had been too drunk to give her consent.
A spokesman for the Attorney General's Office told Press Gazette today: "It has been alleged that the name of the victim in the Ched Evans rape trial has appeared on Twitter.
'Rape victims have lifetime anonymity and the publication of a rape victim's name is a criminal offence. Although this offence is investigated by the police and prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the consent of the Attorney General is required before a prosecution can be brought.
"The police are now investigating these allegations and, if appropriate, will supply a file of evidence to the CPS. The CPS will then consider the evidence in accordance with the code for Crown Prosecutors.
'Should they decide that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, the CPS will refer the case to the Attorney General for him to consider if his consent should be given."
Holly Dustin, director of the End Violence Against Women coalition and Rape Crisis England and Wales, told The Times it was 'profoundly disturbing'that the victim had been named and abused on Twitter and other social media sites.
'This raises serious questions about the adequacy of the criminal justice system to deal with offences that occur online and we are calling for an urgent review of laws and practices,'she said.
Evans admitted having sex with the victim at a hotel in north Wales last May but the woman said she had no memory of the incident and the prosecution successfully argued she was too drunk to consent.
Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, 23, who also admitted having sex with the victim, was found not guilty.
The former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer has warned that many people were under the impression that social media websites were exempt from the laws prohibiting the identification of rape complainants.
"If they are a means of publishing people's names, when people's names should be kept secret, then that just as much infringes the law as doing it in a newspaper,'he said.
"You can comment on things, we don't want to try to chill free speech, but there are certain limits beyond which the law will not allow you to go. And one of those limits is identifying the names and identity of rape victims."
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