Sex offenders win landmark ruling that being on register 'indefinitely' breaches their human rights

By Steve Doughty
Last updated at 12:07 AM on 20th December 2008/Daily Mail

Rapists and paedophiles must be given the chance to erase their names from the sex offenders register, judges ruled yesterday. 

The law which puts serious sex offenders on the register for life violates their human rights, three High Court judges said. 

The decision, reached over the rights of a child rapist and an adult paedophile, was greeted with 'extreme disappointment' by the Home Office, which runs the register.

It came less than a fortnight after Justice Secretary Jack Straw told the Daily Mail of his 'frustration' with the courts' use of the Human Rights Act.

Sex offenders now join a list of apparent wrongdoers who seem to have benefited under the Act and in particular its eight article.

Beneficiaries of the article, which guarantees the right to privacy and family life, include murderers protected from deportation.

Police and experts believe many paedophiles and rapists are unlikely ever to cease being a danger. The test cases involved a teenager known as 'F' and Angus Thompson, a paedophile from Newcastle.

The boy, now 16, who is from Wigan, was 11 when he raped another child. He was sentenced to 30 months' youth custody at Liverpool Crown Court in October 2005 for two rapes and a series of other serious offences. He was released in January 2007.

Thompson was jailed in 1996 for five years for two indecent assaults on a girl and other offences. He was released in 2000.

Under the Sex Offences Act 2003, sex offenders sentenced to 30 months or more 'shall be subjected for life' to being on the register.

But Lord Justice Latham, sitting with Mr Justice Underhill and Mr Justice Flaux, said the law was incompatible with article eight of the Act.


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