A daily newspaper has been barred from naming a “sex beast” who is on the loose – despite police pleas for the offender to be identified.
Glasgow’s Daily Record says the offender went missing from his home in the west of Scotland last month, but lawyers in the Crown Office, the Scottish version of the Crown Prosecution Service, have refused detectives the right to issue a public appeal.
The Crown Office has declined to comment on the reason for the restriction, but the Record says its is “believed they fear naming him might jeopardise his rights”.
The paper splashed on the row on Friday.
A spokesman for the Record said: “As the leader column in Friday morning’s paper says, it is a ridiculous state of affairs that a registered sex offender can disappear off the radar yet the public are not informed.
“This is a hugely serious issue which the Record is highlighting. The Crown Office must look at their procedures and policies in these type of circumstances as a matter of urgency.”
A Police Scotland spokesman added: “He is still wanted. The search continues in Scotland.
“In terms of a public appeal, detectives did approach the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service but the request was not granted. Because of the Crown Office decision, we wouldn’t be able to give any further details.”
Last March Record editor Murray Foote accused Police Scotland of “putting up shutters” after the force refused to release any details of a sex offender who had been on the run for a month.
And the year before, a convicted on-the-run paedophile named Paul Vernon was caught after the Record published his photograph on its front page.
Also in 2015, the paper revealed how Police Scotland stayed silent when Mark Hudgell, a paedophile with links to Edinburgh, vanished in Lincolnshire.
English police went public but, even though the hunt headed north, Scots were not told.
A Crown Office spokesman said: “This is not something we can offer comment on. Any requests by police to issue images, CCTV or press releases are very carefully considered by Crown Counsel before a decision on how to proceed is made.”