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.