Editor's Comment: Defending your right to know

I AGREE with the argument that people have a fundamental right to know whether or not they have a paedophile living in their vicinity or likely to have access to their children… and I would go further.

I think most believe that once a sex offender always (potentially) a sex offender, and anyway, who would really want to run the risk?

On the other hand, I am often asked (sometimes quite aggressively), why I feel the need to print the names of people who have appeared in court.

The argument is that they have been handed down the court's penalty as their punishment to pay for their crime, why should newspapers use these names to help sell papers and give the offender a double whammy?

Truly, the answer is not about selling newspapers. Originally and rightly the idea of the law allowing this to happen, was so that the law could be seen to be done, and it has been an integral part, a

cornerstone of the judicial system for many years.

And actually, as with my opening statement I see no difference – once an offender, almost always an offender. I think any police officer will tell you that by far the majority of crime is repeat offending. I have seen people brought before the courts where they plead guilty to a few specimen charges and then ask for 149 other offences to be taken into consideration!

Peer group pressure is by far the best deterrent and in this case that is the community. It is right and proper for the community to know who they have in their midst. The alternative is secrecy, which is fuelled by a paranoia about the press, which then breeds the 'fear of crime' that the police and politicians keep on about trying to combat.

These issues need to be openly aired!