Why Liar proves we mustn’t name men ac­cused of rape – by ‘don’t get drunk’ judge

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Comment - By Nick Craven

IT IS the lat­est TV drama to grip the na­tion. Mil­lions watched last week as a dash­ing sur­geon was ac­cused of rape af­ter a first date in ITV’s Liar.

At the end of the open­ing episode, teacher Laura Niel­son, played by Down­ton Abbey star Joanne Frog­gatt, black­ens the name of An­drew Earl­ham, played by Ioan Gruf­fudd, by pub­lish­ing her ac­cu­sa­tion on­line.

Now a for­mer judge who con­tro­ver­sially warned women that drink­ing al­co­hol puts them at risk of be­ing at­tacked says the show makes the case for giv­ing rape de­fen­dants the same anonymity as their ac­cusers.

Lind­sey Kush­ner QC – whose com­ments about rape vic­tims and al­co­hol ig­nited a fu­ri­ous row – said the show con­tained many real-life par­al­lels from her 42 years at the Bar.

‘Af­ter the woman’s out­burst on so­cial me­dia, his life is go­ing to be in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult,’ Ms Kush­ner said. ‘That brought me to think­ing about rape de­fen­dants and whether they should have the same anonymity as com­plainants.

‘I am per­son­ally in favour of anonymity to give par­ity to the ac­cuser and the ac­cused, es­pe­cially as the man is sub­ject to “no smoke with­out fire” com­ments.’ Ms Kush­ner said the stain of be­ing pub­licly ac­cused – es­pe­cially on­line – could re­main with a man for the rest of his life.

She added: ‘Even if he were charged, went to trial and ac­quit­ted in record time, the al­le­ga­tion would still be hang­ing around un­less he some­how man­aged to re­move it from the in­ter­net and Face­book.’

View­ers of the ITV drama do not know which of the two main char­ac­ters is ly­ing.

The sec­ond episode of the six-part series is on to­mor­row night at 9pm.

WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH? Ioan Gruf­fudd and Joanne Frog­gatt in Liar

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