Sexual assault suspects could have their identities suppressed before a guilty or not guilty verdict is delivered pending a law review.
Australian actor John Jarratt has called for the change to be introduced after he was found not guilty of rape in a case that was publicised before the trial and verdict was handed down.
Central West Regional Law Society president Stephanie Hughes said the Law Society of NSW is yet to finalise its position on issuing suppression orders before a conviction.
She said the society made a preliminary submission to the NSW Law Reform Commission's Open Justice Review into laws that regulate access, disclosure and publication of information in courts and tribunals.
Ms Hughes said the review would consider the operation of suppression and non-publication orders to determine if the current laws strike the right balance between the administration of justice, the rights of victims and witnesses, the right to a fair trial, privacy and confidentiality, public safety and public interest, commercial interests and national security.
She said in its preliminary submission, the Law Society stated that an adult convicted of an offence should not be able to have their name suppressed purely to avoid causing them distress and embarrassment.
"However, suppression and non-publication orders to avoid distress and embarrassment to complainants and witnesses, who may themselves be victims of an offence, should be utilised where possible to support their engagement with the criminal justice system," the submission stated.
The society wants suppression and non-publication orders to be used to protect the identities of children of a person who was convicted of an offence, even when they were not a victim or a witness.
Ms Hughes said the Law Society was also of the view that juvenile offenders and children who had not yet been charged, should be entitled to special consideration to protect their privacy in line with the Children's (Criminal Proceedings) Act, and international obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Ms Hughes said in addition to the submission, the Law Society of NSW would undertake further discussions regarding the review, once consultation papers were released later in 2019.
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