A paedophile won a legal battle after claiming that his human rights had been violated when police revealed details of a sexual abuse conviction, 20 years earlier, to his employer.
Police told his employer that the man had been convicted, in 1987, of sexually molesting a three year old boy. High Court judge Mr Justice Nicol ruled that the 1987 conviction was ‘spent’ and it had therefore been unlawful to reveal this to his employer. However, a claim for compensation for ‘humiliation, anxiety and loss of reputation’ was rejected.
The man cannot be named for legal reasons. So, is a past ‘mistake’ relevant if the person goes on to lead a normal life? In many cases, the answer must be ‘yes’. A 20 year old conviction for marijuana possession, a childhood case of shoplifting…probably irrelevant.
Therein lies a dilemma. This man was convicted of abusing a three year old boy 20 years ago and this, by law, should not be revealed. So, what has he done since? In 2007 he was accused of sexually abusing his own daughter over a period of eight years.
A family court judge, in a civil case, branded him a ‘high-risk sexual offender’ from whom the public needed protecting and ‘a dangerous paedophile’ who had abused children of different ages and sexes.
Although arrested, Mr X was not convicted of any other offences. The 1987 conviction was obviously not a ‘one-off’ and the man poses an ongoing threat and in such cases, surely the public should have a right to know about it as paedophilia is far from a ‘minor’ offence.
The police did also reveal to Mr X’s employer the 2007 arrest and, at least in one piece of sanity, Mr Justice Nicol ruled that they had been perfectly entitled to do so.
Not revealing an accusation is one thing, the accusation may turn out to be false and made for dubious or vengeful reasons, but a conviction, particularly as a paedophile, is something else. It is relevant, and remains relevant.
As to him suffering stress and anxiety as a result of the revelation, so what. He would not be in that situation if he had not committed the crime in the first place. Better he suffers stress than our children are put at risk.