Innocent should mean “Innocent”
I was falsely accused of a horrible crime, enduring a police investigation resulting in a Crown Court trial where the jury agreed that my accusers were lying through their teeth. I was found not guilty by a jury but for some reason a verdict of "not guilty" doesn't mean innocent.
For instance the police have my DNA and fingerprints. They don't have the DNA and fingerprints of innocent people.
I was asked to work with my son's karate club, so I disclosed what happened to me, because I knew an enhanced CRB check shows the nature of an arrest and charges. I have to do this from time to time and its not pleasant. I have a friendship with the instructor who is a police officer, but we haven't progressed the role in the club.
I wanted to take my son to California. I have to pay £60 for a Chief of Police report. I have to travel to London for an interview with the US Embassy. That's about £70 by train. I have to pay for a visa to enter their country. I'm innocent but I'm treated differently to other people.
A verdict of not guilty should be changed to a verdict of innocent. The slate should be wiped clean. My legal costs were £41,000 and yet the courts decided that this was too excessive – I'm owed £5000 and will never see it again. Apparently the courts don't understand the word "innocent".
By all means let the police keep a record of the arrest, but don't use it to destroy my life. I did nothing wrong except to upset someone who proceeded to tell a belly full of lies.
Why does this idea matter?
I was falsely accused, endured nearly 2 years of investigation and trial, had to borrow a small fortune to pay legal costs, faced emotional distress and now find that the verdict of "not guilty" means I face a life sentence of being judged on what my accuser said.
You know its wrong.
Your government (and I did vote one half of the coalition) has a chance to show people like that our ordeal can end with the Judge's words: "You are free to go". My ordeal hasn't ended and unless someone in Government looks at this seriously, I will never be granted the freedoms that innocent people have.