UK Civil Liberties - New Labour's Record
Sexual Offences Bill
The Sexual Offences Bill (SOB) contains many good things. Unfortunately, under the laudable aim of protecting children,
it goes too far.
SOB defines a specific offence of "grooming" - befriending
children with intent to abuse. The problem is that word
intent. A sex offender order with all that entails
could be issued against anyone friendly with children, even
if they have not committed any offence. They will be prosecuted not
for what they have done but for what they might do.
Remember the paedophile witch-hunts instigated by the tabloid
press a few years ago? Many innocent people were wrongly accused.
Had SOB been law, some of those innocent people would probably have
been declared legallly guilty.
With a law as woolly as this it is unavoidable that some innocent
people will be treated as sexual offenders. Still others will be
scared away from perfectly normal and innocent contact
When we start locking people up for what we think they
might do, we're getting dangerously close to "thought crime".
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