May backs suspect anonymity

Criminal suspects who have been arrested should not normally be named until they are charged, the Home Secretary has said.

Lawyer: Wider public interest is that justice is served

The subject of whether people who are arrested on suspicion of a crime should be given anonymity is an issue which has been highlighted by the Home Secretary.

Media Lawyer Mark Stephens, who represented wrongly accused former TV presenter John Leslie told Daybreak:

"John Leslie was the subject of a gross miscarriage of justice in the sense that he was wrongly accused from the start and rightly found innocent, but the key thing here we have to look at what is the wider public interest, the wider public interest is justice is served."

David Cameron: May's approach is the right one

Criminal suspects who have been arrested should not normally be named until they are charged, the Home Secretary has said.

David Cameron said there have been "terrible events" following the naming of arrested suspects.

Prime Minister David Cameron Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The Prime Minister alluded to the case of Christopher Jeffries, who sued several newspapers for their coverage of his arrest on suspicion of the murder of Joanna Yeates in Bristol. He added:

"But I saw Theresa's approach in advance and I think it's the right one."

Read: Press victim: 'Disaster' if Cameron ignores Leveson


Home Secretary backs anonymity at point of arrest

The Home Secretary has revealed she backs the right to anonymity for criminal suspects who have been arrested but not charged.

In a letter to the recently formed professional standards body, the College of Policing, Theresa May said she was concerned by reports that some forces have refused to name suspects who have been charged.

Home Secretary Theresa May. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

But Mrs May said she does believe in protecting the identities of suspects at point of arrest and has asked the College, led by chief executive Alex Marshall, to draw up clearer guidance.

Her comments come after Warwickshire Police came under fire for initially refusing to name a retired police officer charged with theft.

In the letter, the Home Secretary said: "I am concerned that the refusal of some police forces to name suspects who have been charged undermines transparency in the criminal justice system and risks the possibility that witnesses and other victims might not come forward.

"I strongly believe that there should be no right to anonymity at charge apart from in extremely unusual circumstances.

"I believe there should be a right to anonymity at arrest, but I know that there will be circumstance