Sex offenders win right to appeal over names register

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Thousands of sex offenders will be able to challenge their inclusion on the national register after two convicted paedophiles won a human-rights case yesterday.

The Supreme Court ruling entitles anyone whose personal details are permanently held on the sexual offenders' register to ask to have their name removed. Dismissing an appeal by the Home Office, the judges said the length of time that a sex offender is monitored in the community must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the risk they pose. The next Government will have to bring in legislation to establish an application system for the removal of names.

Yesterday's case concerned a teenager convicted of rape and a 59-year-old man guilty of indecent assault. The teenage boy, known only as F, was jailed for 30 months in October 2005, aged 11, for raping a six-year-old boy. The second case involved a man named Angus Aubrey Thompson, jailed in 1996 for five years.

Offenders are placed on the register for life if they are sentenced to 30 months or more in jail. There are some 32,000 registered sex offenders in England and Wales and approximately half of them received sentences leading to lifelong monitoring. Both offenders had argued that permanent inclusion on the sex offenders register with no chance of a review was a disproportionate interference in their family lives.