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Ban all ‘guilty until proven innocent’ procedures

Comment 13th July 2010

Under the Labour Government, 'guilty until proved innocent' investigative procedures were adopted widely, and allowed for by numerous legally flawed Acts, especially those enabling quangos to 'regulate' in a non-accountable and unjust manner. The Coalition Government needs to pass an Act specifically outlawing such procedures (since it is impossible to trace all instances of their use, as there are too many), and make this Act retrospective, thus enabling all miscarriages of justice achieved by this means to be appealed straightforwardly on the basis of this new Act. Presumably the 'guilty until proven innocent' procedures were all illegal in any case and if the matter ever reached the Supreme Court, a legal free-for-all could result. It is best if the Government makes the position absolutely clear at the earliest possible date by reaffirming the principle established over 1000 years of the evolution of British justice that everyone is 'innocent until proved guilty', stating that as this is a fundamental human right, any instance of this right having been or being infringed by any investigative procedure whatever is and always has been illegal.

Why does this matter?

The most basic building block for any tyranny or dictatorship is the acceptance of the principle that 'everyone is guilty' and it is up to the citizen to prove his or her innocence whenever challenged to do so. Just as any logician knows that it is often impossible to prove a negative, so it is often impossible to prove innocence. It is guilt which must be subject to proof, not innocence. Otherwise the State can do what it likes with us, as indeed many states like Burma, for instance, do every day. If people are 'guilty until proved innocent', then anyone can be accused of anything at any time. This is clearly a form of insanity, and a favourite instrument of totalitarianism. The fact that these procedures were not only tolerated but encouraged under the Labour Government shows the totalitarian inclination of what might be described as the 'hard left faction' of a major Party in our country which was not restrained by any other faction of that Party, so that the instruments of tyranny were erected in Britain with the ready acquiescence of a governing entity. This is a most alarming state of affairs, and needs to be seen for what it was, a kind of sleep-walking into a dictatorship, led by a ruthless minority of would-be political tyrants.

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