Why Celebrity Rape Defendants Deserve Protection Too

The recent case involving Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell should be a wake-up call to our society. The law says innocent until proven guilty, but does our media reflect that?
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The recent case involving Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell should be a wake-up call to our society. The law says innocent until proven guilty, but does our media reflect that?

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Michael Le Vell is a man whose problems run much further than the eye can see, they cut much deeper than we could have ever imagined. In reality, outside the no-nonsense mechanic Kevin Webster he portrays in Coronation Street there is a dark side. Michael Le Vell’s dark side crawled out of the shadows recently, exposing him as a love cheat and a drunk. But it was revealed last week to a crowded court room (and minutes later due to the beauty of the internet, the rest of the world) that Michael Le Vell was not guilty of, to put it bluntly, raping a child. It could be argued that Le Vell is a scumbag for cheating on his wife while she experienced gruelling cancer treatment but he it simply can’t be argued that he is guilty of crimes that leave the blood running cold and the skin shuddering. Michael Le Vell isn’t a child rapist.

Many people who have also been falsely accused of such horrific crimes label themselves just that; the ‘falsely accused’. And Le Vell and the self-titled ‘falsely accuseds’ have to live with the stigma that goes hand in hand with rape accusations. Sadly for Le Vell and other publicised cases it’s something they will never be able to escape from.

But Le Vell isn’t guilty. Not guilty due to the rule in this country that states “innocent till proven guilty”. But it won’t prevent the millions that have read about this and those millions that argue the visibly flawed idea of ‘no smoke without fire’ stopping him living the life of an innocent man and it’s only the truly naïve that would believe that he (and many of the other ‘falsely accuseds’) will have their career prospects (and life) pick up right where they left off.

So shouldn’t Le Vell and other rape defendants have their identities withheld from the public? Shouldn’t Le Vell be able to walk down his street without being abused? Return to his day job without the stigma of being a rape defendant following him and be able to attempt to pick up the pieces of his old life and throw them together to give him a fair shot of normality? Le Vell obviously doesn’t deserve to live with the hell and subsequent hideous treatment that falsely accused rape defendants are frequently plagued with. The world unanimously seems to agree that it’s not fair but nothing continues to be done. But it’s not just Le Vell, there’s plenty more when he came from.

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One just happens to be Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones. Jones was found not guilty of several horrific crimes towards children after evidence was found to show a ‘key victim’ had fabricated his claims. Therefore Dave is an innocent man. Dave isn’t a paedophile. Yet that doesn’t stop the fire from burning, it doesn’t stop the bullets from being fired as Dave has the unenviable achievement of several football chants, that are frequently launched at him at him when standing on the touchline, purely on the topic of him being a paedophile.

Back in 1976 rape defendants were given the right to keep their identity secret but the right to be able to stay anonymous lasted a mere twelve years when the protection was removed. Since then the idea has been brought up by the Liberal Democrat party but was one of a many things that wasn’t able to be pushed through after the coalition agreement with the Conservatives.

It doesn’t seem to be on the horizon either, after the U-turn on the idea in 2010 it appears the easy action is to err on the side of caution and back away from any law changes, to hide away from the original protestors who seem to think that anyone accused of rape should be hung without even a sole word in their defence. But don’t get me wrong, rape and paedophilia are repulsive, evil crimes in which the perpetrators of the crimes warrant the worst punishments imaginable. But the accused have lied about rape before and the accused will lie in the future.

Dave Jones and Michael Le Vell are innocent men, deservedly living a free life due to UK law of ‘innocent till proven guilty’. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Michael Le Vell’s “living hell” won’t stop this week and, as the case of Dave Jones and thousands of others prove, Le Vell will continue to live this “living hell” till death.