#MeToo and the presumption of innocence: the rights of victims and the accused

Coleman, Michelle ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2615-1021 (2019) #MeToo and the presumption of innocence: the rights of victims and the accused. In: SLS 2019 Annual Conference, 03-06 Sept 2019, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


The #MeToo movement has called attention to widespread instances of sexual harassment and sexual assault. It has allowed victims to be able to speak freely and raise awareness of what has happened to them. While some of these statements are general in nature, some of these public statements have included very specific accusations against specific individuals. Commentators have argued that this movement violates the accused person’s right to the presumption of innocence. The public debate has raised questions as to how to support victims and take their claims seriously while also considering whether and how to respect the accused individual’s right to the presumption of innocence. This paper will examine the presumption of innocence in light of the #MeToo movement. First it will give some background and context to the #MeToo movement. Then it will discuss the presumption of innocence including a review of its scope and application, with a particular focus on when and how statements may hinder this right. A survey of the types of accusations that have arisen in the #MeToo movement will be discussed with a focus on specificity and context. The presumption of innocence will then be applied to the types of accusations that have been made in order to determine whether the accused person’s presumption of innocence has been implicated and, if so, whether the right has been interfered with or violated. The paper will conclude that while statements can implicate an accused person’s presumption of innocence, the instances in which statements made within the #MeToo movement do this are rare and only occur under a specific set of circumstances.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
Item ID: 27763
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Michelle Coleman
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2019 16:54
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2019 19:20
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/27763

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