‘Don’t name rape accused’: Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald
Mary Lou McDonald

Defendants in rape trials should have their identities protected unless convicted, Mary Lou McDonald has said.

The Sinn Fein president called for a fundamental review of the legal systems on both sides of the Irish border was needed, and said: “The naming of defendants adds nothing to the justice process and should only enter the public domain in the event of conviction.”

Ms McDonald added: “It is completely unacceptable that cases heard in courts in the north can be turned into an intrusive circus with extensive media reporting and general public access. This level of access and reporting jeopardises the anonymity of the complainant.”

Her call for change follows a similar plea from DUP MP Ian Paisley, who last week said he would raise the issue in Parliament.

“No party should be identified in advance of the verdict and only then when there is a guilty verdict,” he said.