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Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 12: Restriction on reports as to suspects of sexual offences

Subsections (1) and (2) of this section provide anonymity to a person against whom an allegation of having committed a sexual offence has been made to the police or a person who is being investigated by the police in connection with a sexual offence – ‘the suspect’. Nothing can be published that would lead to the identification of the suspect.

Subsection (5) details a list of non-exhaustive matters to which the reporting restrictions particularly apply. Subsection (3) provides that the reporting restrictions apply only up to the point of charge and sets out what constitutes a charge. Subsection (4) provides that where no charge is made, the reporting restrictions apply for the life of the suspect and for 25 years after the suspect’s death. Subsection (6) provides that the reporting restrictions will apply to a suspect regardless of whether the allegation is made, or there is a police investigation, before or after this section comes into operation.

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