This is not the first time I’ve covered an anonymity request like this, but I still find the situation disturbing on a number of levels. The Wakefield Express reports:
A judge is being asked to give indefinite anonymity to two Yorkshire brothers who tortured two young boys in a bout of “prolonged, sadistic violence” when they were 10 and 11 years old.
The pair were sentenced to an indeterminate period in custody, with a minimum of five years, following the shocking incident in 2009 which became known as the Edlington Case, after the former pit village near Doncaster where it happened.
A court order made at the time granted them anonymity until they are both 18. As the younger of the two brothers approaches his 18th birthday, lawyers acting for the pair are seeking an injunction to extend their anonymity indefinitely, claiming that identifying them would breach various sections of the Human Rights Act.
Read more on the Wakefield Express, and then think about these questions:
- If you agree that the boys would likely be subject to rejection and possible harassment or worse if their identities were known, then do you agree that such things would be a human rights violation?
- What about people who might live near them? Do they have any right to know who their teenage children might be inviting into their home?
- Can you say, with absolutely certainty, that these two teens will never do anything like this again? If not, what about the safety of others who would be kept in the dark about their identities?
- Should they get this “clean slate,” as it were, when in the U.S., a teenager who has consensual sex with a younger teen girlfriend might have to spend the rest of his life on a sex offender’s registry that’s publicly available?
Is the UK/EU human rights law appropriately protective and U.S. law underprotective, or have both countries gone too far in opposite directions?
I don’t have answers. I just have questions.
Update of Dec. 18: They were granted lifelong anonymity.