THE PRESSURE IS ON. A high profile crime demands a solution. The community is justifiably frightened. Crime victims justifiably deserve justice. As long as the guilty party is successfully targeted, justice is well served. When an innocent suspect is aggressively targeted, justice is well denied. Indeed, a wrongful conviction is a violent intrusion upon an innocent victim and upon an entire family that is forced to wake up to the nightmare of a persecution each and every single day of the year. In the meantime, actual murderers are free to live or kill again as they please. The obvious, rhetorical question of course, is why would anybody persecute an innocent person? To be sure, under normal circumstances, the idea of framing an innocent person sounds like a bizarre conspiratorial theory. But when circumstances become unbearably frustrating, the "why" is naturally replaced by "why not" and the unthinkable is anxiously embraced. The motivation behind a highly emotional trial is not necessarily justice or reason, but a relentless determination to prove guilt in the courts, whether the verdict is justified or not. It may sound bizarre, but when human emotions and legal tactics dictate motivation, the determination of guilt or innocence is highly arbitrary. Clearly, it is not a zealous prosecution or a zealous defence which defines the legitimacy of a verdict, but a fair and comprehensive analysis of evidence. When the potential influence of prejudice, ignorance, fraud, miscalculation, indifference, blind trust, secrecy, deception and corruption is ignored, the distinction between a legitimate prosecution and an abusive persecution dissolves.

They say the devil is in the detail, and it is literally true when we fail to think in a comprehensive, rational manner. The mind-numbing emotional pain, the horror and the terror that a brutal, senseless murder provokes, has the capacity to overpower reason and makes it extremely difficult to allow for the time and persistent effort which may or may not produce enough evidence to get to the bottom of a murder mystery. The ceaseless public demand for justice and revenge, creates the most trying of all circumstances. And through all the mayhem, we expect our police officers to be rational, to maintain composure and to prove their effectiveness by satisfying our need to feel secure. In short, we want them to tell us who did it, as soon as possible, and if they do not, we question their effectiveness.

It is through this pressure cooker, that answers to devastating questions are explored in the glare of sensational media coverage. If emotional police officers suspend rational judgement, it is because they are human. It may be difficult for law abiding citizens to accept the fact that the police are as error prone as anyone else, but they are. It may be difficult to believe that the police can be as corrupt as anyone else, but they can. It may be difficult to believe that they do not always tell the truth, but they do not.






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