WILLIAM Roach’s comments outside court after his acquittal were brief but to the point: There were no winners.
However, the five women who made the claims against him have retained the anonymity throughout the year-long criminal investigation while Roache has had his name dragged through the dirt with the cloud of Operation Yew Tree hanging over his head.
Surely now is the time to review the legal handling of sexual offence investigations as there is such an extreme level of stigma attached to those accused. “There is no smoke without fire” attitudes will mean Roache will never be free of the allegations of rape and sexual assaults made against him.
The only way to be fair to both alleged offenders and victims is to grant them both anonymity until the case has resulted in a successful prosecution.
Then, and only then, should the offenders name be released to the public.
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