SA may remove sex offenders' and victims' anonymity
Alleged sex offenders would lose their automatic right to anonymity under a law change proposed by the South Australian government.
Under the the state's Evidence Act, the name of an alleged sex offender is automatically prohibited from publication before a guilty plea or court verdict, or prior to committal for trial in a higher court.
But Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said several cases over recent years have exposed the public's right to know an alleged offender's identity.
"No other class of defendant is afforded the same protection," she said on Wednesday.
"In the absence of compelling reason, I believe it's fair that all persons charged with committing crimes are treated equally."
Ms Chapman said the historic reason for the suppression was to protect the reputation of a person charged with a sex offence then found not guilty.
"While other serious offences may also attract some stigma, sexual offences are viewed as particularly abhorrent by the community and may taint the reputation of a person even if they are acquitted," she said.
"However, the principle of open justice and the flow of information to the community should be treated as paramount.
"In these circumstances, I believe the adverse effects on some accused are outweighed by the public interest in having an open system of justice."
Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas indicated Labor would support the proposal once it's seen the details.
"We very much welcome the proposition that's been put forward by the government, we naturally want to see the detail," he told reporters.
"We want to see people working together to get the desired outcome."
Ms Chapman noted the changes would not impact identity protections afforded to victims of sexual offences, or a different section of the Act which allows for the imposition of case-specific suppression orders.
The government is currently undergoing a consultation process with the courts, justice agencies, legal community and advocacy bodies.
Following that, a draft bill will be prepared for the parliament.