X v SSHD – Notification of Bank Details Breach of Article 8 but Proportionate says the Court

The Case of X v SSHD now referred to by the Claimant’s name ( a matter to which we refer shortly ) has now been delivered and our Client was told that his Article 8 Right of a Right to a Private Life was engaged by Regulation 12 of the New Sex Offender Notification Requirements, but that the interference was a proportionate one and therefore he had no remedy . We are bound to respect the decision of the Court but cannot agree with it .

It is  perhaps not unsurprising that the Court had to conclude engagement of Article 8  as there seems to be little argument that collecting individuals’ bank details and holding them centrally is a clear invasion of privacy . In our view this  is indicative of yet a further march to a “1984 ” State .

The difficulty for our Client and the many others that wanted to legitimately challenge these arrangements is that there is little sympathy for those convicted of sexual offences who are all deemed to be paedophiles and a danger to the public by the media, when of course in many cases this is simply not true .

Take the case brought. In this case the Claimant had been convicted of historic allegations some years in the past for which the Claimant maintains  his innocence . He had following release from prison fully complied with the notification requirements and whilst he objected to providing his personal details out of routine properly pursued the case via the Court .

As to the removal of his anonymity, this seems pretty unfair, particularly as the Court of its own volition granted it to him earlier in the proceedings  contrast this  with the recent DNA case where anonymity was granted: R (R) v A Chief Constable [2013[ EWHC 2864 (Admin.) This was a case testing a particular issue for many claimants and its difficult to see what value there was in publishing his details as a result .

There  is little doubt that at the time the claim was issued there was no supporting evidence in the regulatory impact statement to support why these details were needed and on what basis the claim that they would assist tracing absconding offenders was supported . During the hearing details were finally produced of illustrations from Scotland very late in the day .

However, even so it still seems questionable as to whether this should be a one size fits all approach, and surely effective safeguarding requires a targeted approach to be taken to managing risk which would at least have allowed for such a regulation to only have been deployable when there was evidential support for its need, e.g. through a sexual offences prevention order.

This may have been a more equitable solution to the issue and it may be that as cases continue, and the Court of Appeal Criminal Division has to grapple with the aftermath of this decision, this will not be the end of the story . In the meantime those convicted of sexual offences will find themselves not only punished with the sentence they receive from the Court but effectively subjected to a life time of invasion of their privacy by the state thereafter .

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