Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

ONE might have thought that the case of Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed recently awarded 200,000 each in libel damages against the authors of a local government report which made fantastic claims of child abuse - would sound a warning to the government to avoid joining the general hysteria about paedophilia. But not a bit of it. The Home Office's taskforce on child protection has proposed to make it a criminal offence to 'groom' children via the Internet with intent to commit a sexual offence.

Nobody doubts that the Internet has been used by paedophiles to make contact with children, and it is of course vital for parents to supervise their children's use of a computer. But the proposals take the law into the worrying territory of trying to prosecute people on the basis that they look as if they might possibly be about to commit a crime. It is akin to charging drinkers just because they are jangling their car keys in the pub. …

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