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But Lord Justice Dyson said it was 'disproportionate' to keep an offender's name on it forever.The court ruled the 2003 Sexual Offenders Act was incompatible with a criminal's right to a private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.That forced a raft of ex-convicts to register for the first time, or to register for longer than they would otherwise have. The ruling was heralded by civil libertarians and criticized by prosecutors and victims’ advocates.The decision, authored by Justice Kevin Dougherty, represented a departure from previous Pennsylvania and federal court rulings that have upheld retroactive registration for Megan’s Law, finding it passed constitutional muster because its aim is to protect and inform the public, and not punish the offender.Yesterday a Home Office bid to overturn the ruling was rejected in the Court of Appeal.For years, defense lawyers have bristled that the state’s latest sex offender registration law does just that.Before the new rules took effect four and a half years ago, about 12,000 people were listed on the state Megan’s Law website, which publishes sex offenders’ photos, addresses and other information. Under the new law, offenders fall into three tiers of registration: 15 years, 25 years and life.Before, registration was either for 10 years or life.
Given the ruling, those people are entitled to relief, he said.And this week, the state Supreme Court agreed, in a closely watched ruling that will have sweeping impact.At issue is the 2012 Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, commonly called SORNA, which was enacted by a nearly unanimous legislature.The High Court also considered the rights of another sex offender, Angus Aubrey Thompson, 51, from Newcastle, who was jailed for five years in 1996 for indecent assaults on a girl.He was released on licence in 2000 and has since suffered a series of heart attacks and is stricken by arthritis.Ryan Tarkowski, a spokesman for the state police, which administers the website, said the state is reviewing the ruling.He called it “a complex decision” that will “undoubtedly impact” the registry, though he could not estimate the number of names that may be removed. “It empowers them with this information so they know that they can avoid them.”The ruling involved the Cumberland County case of Jose M.Spokesman for the National Victims' Association Neil Atkinson said: 'It's an appalling decision.'This is a category of crime that is tremendously difficult to monitor because the criminals themselves have been proven to lie to authorities about their possibility of reoffending.' The test case was first brought before the High Court last year by a child rapist who argued his name should be taken off the register because it prevented him from going on family holidays.Currently those given a jail sentence of more than 30 months for sex crimes are placed on the register indefinitely.That means they have to notify the authorities of any change of address or name and any foreign travel plans.