20 SEPTEMBER 2003, Page 36

The accusation sticks

From Dr Robin Moffat Sir: Your excellent leader (`Rape and justice', 13 September) rightly states that many accused men need protection from being publicly branded as rapists because even if they are found not guilty, the accusation sticks and the finding of innocence does not.

Another reason to be cautious about branding accused men rapists is that today so many complainants (and defendants) engage in sexual activity after heavy consumption of alcohol (some with drugs). They often have no memory of what has actually happened at an event that may have occurred many months, if not years, before the trial date, and generally there are no witnesses to support the allegations made.

There should always be a presumption of innocence — the hallmark of our legal system. And after many years of giving expert testimony in rape trials, I am more than ever convinced that there should be anonymity for both parties.

Robin Moffat

Brighton, East Sussex