Teachers accused of crimes against their pupils could be granted anonymity

The Guardian

Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 September 2012

Teachers accused of committing criminal offences involving children at their school will be granted anonymity under regulations which come into force next week.

Under the restrictions the married teacher Jeremy Forrest, who has gone missing in Europe with his 15-year-old student Megan Stammers, might not have been identified.

The provisions, introduced under section 13 of the Education Act 2011, mean teachers will become the first group to receive automatic anonymity when accused of a certain category of criminal offences. Once the teacher has been charged he or she can be identified.

Police, the media or anyone else would have to apply to a court to have the reporting restrictions lifted. Critics have warned the restrictions could hinder police appeals and searches for missing suspects.

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