Call for anonymity orders to be a special measure

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Witnesses in criminal trials should only be granted anonymity orders as the “last practicable resort”, according to the Lord Chief Justice. Sitting at the Court of Appeal in London, Lord Judge said such orders “cannot be made or upheld if, in the result, the trial would be or was unfair”. The comments were made as he announced the court’s reasons for its decision on November 29 to quash the convictions of two men found guilty of robbing Malaysian student Ashraf Rossli during widespread rioting across the UK in August 2011. John Kafunda, 23, of Ilford, and Reece Donovan, 25, of Chadwell, were convicted of robbery and violent disorder on the evidence of anonymous witnesses but on appeal it was ruled that the pair did not have a fair trial. Lord Judge said the offences “attracted considerable notoriety because filmed footage of the robbery was widely played on news programmes in the days and weeks following the disturbances”. The purpose of the anonymity orders granted by the trial judge in relation to two witnesses was to ensure that the defendants “did not know and could not know the identity of their accusers”. We have one of the leading teams of criminal law specialists in West London and the South East. If you are facing a serious criminal charge, contact a member of the IBB's Criminal Defence team: call us on 08456 381381 or email criminaldefence@ibblaw.co.uk.