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Zander of the LSE - Innocents Shouldn't Be Let Off

No, no, no: not guilty does not mean innocent | The Times (£)

Michael Zander, QC, Emeritus Professor of Law at the London School of Economics

Theresa May’s case for slashing the number of names on the DNA database is nonsensical

Theresa May was talking nonsense. She (and her advisers) should know better. It is nonsense because no one knows the number of arrested persons who are innocent. Someone who is arrested but not charged, or is arrested but not convicted, may be guilty. Indeed, it is reasonable to assume that a considerable proportion — perhaps a majority — are guilty even though for one reason or another they are not convicted or charged.
In most cases even someone who has been acquitted cannot properly be described as “found innocent” — though journalists commonly fall into that error. Occasionally, notably through DNA evidence, it is established that the acquitted person is in fact innocent. Usually, however, all one can say is that the defendant was not convicted. A Not Guilty verdict means not proved beyond a reasonable doubt to be guilty. That verdict covers everything from “completely innocent” to “lucky to get away with it”.
Misuse of the word “innocent” is not a minor matter. The word has a heavy emotional charge that is capable of affecting policy decisions. The cry that “innocent people should not have their DNA profile on the database” is far more appealing than “people who may or may not be guilty should not have their DNA profile on the database”.
The case for having DNA profiles of people who have been arrested on the database is very simple. Whether or not they are convicted this time, it may help to convict them next time.

He's the top legal brain at the LSE where it might be thought he would be better spent looking at innocence and guilt at the moment. I think what he is trying to say is that dodgy people get off when jolly nice policemen and lawyers like him know they are wrong-uns. So lets forget all this "innocent" stuff and tag them with having a guilty look about them.
If he wants to make the case for a universal DNA register then why not make it as Theresa May's proposal is to merely to shorten the time those charged and found not guilty have their DNA stored.

Comments

He is of course right in common sense though not in law. Just as we cannot, in common sense, know that policemen and the judiciary are honest- this is only a legal presumption.
Should he wish to be consistent however, he should be calling for all policemens' and judges' affairs to be published, so we can more easily find the guilty ones.

I think both Mr. Zander and Pat could stand to be reminded of the phrase "innocent until proven guilty".

Professor Zander might, quite possibly, be innocent of the assasination of Kennedy, the sinking of the Maine, the poisoning of Elvis and pushing George Mallory off the top of Everest. He might, I say, be innocent, but all we can truly say is that he has not been found guilty of these crimes. Is this lack of rigorous certainty, the inability of the courts to uncover the evidence which might, or might not, exist, any reason not to treat the accused with great suspicion? Should he not be tagged, barred from public office, harrassed at every turn and have his name published in the press at regular intervals to remind people of his (falling just short of the standard of proof) crimes. The accusations, which may or may not have been made, show a pattern of behaviour which is, I think you will agree, deeply disturbing, and Professor Zander should not expect to be treated as a normal member of society while his innocence has not been proven.

Zander and common sense? Laughable. Go to a good library and clock page 37 of Anthony Martienssen's 1951 study CRIME AND THE POLICE. He had an extremely interesting factual observation for those interested in police criminal recording keeping limitations. Zander ought also to have read The Times outspoken up-front very recent editorial (25 Feb) entitled - "Not OK. The Court of Appeal should quash George Davis's Conviction". And that's after 35 years plus of police, legal and political prevarication. Zander has a back to front DNA fixation. Perhaps he's somewhat dwarfed by his surname. His article is a disgrace.

There is no chance of any of the records being "deleted"
Even if the police purge their system of the records there
remains the data stored at the place the samples were analysed.
Not to forget that data is replicated at the home office, and also shared
with other countries.

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