back to article UK IT consultant subject to insane sex ban order mounts legal challenge

A homeless IT consultant will learn today whether his challenge to a draconian order, which forces him to tell police in advance if he is going to have sex, will succeed. John O'Neill, 45, must tell the cops 24 hours in advance even if he only plans on “kissing” or engaging in “sexually explicit conversation” – but has never …

Giving the police

The ability to be Judge, jury and executioner.

He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent and should be able to get on with what remains of his life.

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"He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

I don't think you understand the law too well. There is a high level of proof required - 99% doesn't do the job - so "not guilty" means that there was insufficient proof for the jury. It does not mean that he was innocent.

From the BBC website report:

"community psychiatric nurse notes said he had been sexually violent to past girlfriends and he was "not sure" if they had consented. He told her he needed women "to be scared" during sex or "I don't respond", the court heard."

So I certainly agree that this is a disgraceful way for a civilised society to behave, very Orwellian, and I hope that this measure is repealed when some sense of decency re-emerges, but I'm not holding my breath on that.

We, as outsiders, don't have all the facts, so we can give only personal opinions. Without the facts, we're just Sun & Daily Mail readers.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

Not guilty does mean that the defendant was found innocent for the specific charge brought. That does not mean, nor can it mean, the person is blameless in everything they have done in life.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"Not guilty does mean that the defendant was found innocent"

Yes, I accept that from the strictly legal point of view, but it doesn't mean that he didn't commit the offence - it means only that the jury were not sure that he did.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

>>I don't think you understand the law too well. There is a high level of proof required - 99% doesn't do the job - so "not guilty" means that there was insufficient proof for the jury. It does not mean that he was innocent.

Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat

i.e. Presumption of innocence, it means legally, he is innocent until proven guilty, as he wasn't proven guilty, he is legally innocent - whether he is actually innocent is a different matter (which of course is your point), the problem here is two fold, firstly is it even legal to impose a legal constraint on someone not found legally guilty of something, secondly this legal constraint appears to exceed the boundaries of the guidelines.

In this "safe not sorry" environment it disturbs me slightly to feel comfortable that his life is messed up on the possibility that this protects innocent people (even if he is practically and legally innocent of anything), it seems as if he has been dealt with in a very draconian way and the SJW in me doesn't like it, I guess, as a test case if his appeal is successful, this might protect innocent people, the risk is (of course) if he is a "wrongun" and he then attacks someone where the restrictions would have protected them.

I can't help feeling that there's some bad stuff going on, just can't put my finger on it, perhaps there's just better ways of dealing with aberrant desires than presumption of guilt.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"I don't think you understand the law too well."

You say this and then demonstrate that you don't understand how our legal system works.

Within our justice system there is no grey area; you are either innocent or guilty. If you are proved not guilty, then you are innocent. If there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are guilty, then you are also innocent. The question of actual, moral innocence is irrelevant.

The fact that this sort of power has been given to the police is frankly horrifying.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

@ Bloodbeastterror

I 100% agree with you*, and I would support some sort of extra monitoring order for people like this. But that doesn't change the fact that the terms of this particular order seem to be unworkable and draconian. I'm surprised he hasn't made a Human Rights Act challenge to it, but I suspect that'll be on the cards if he doesn't get it overturned by other means.

*except for the Daily Mail reader bit, The Sun FTW though ;).

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"I would support some sort of extra monitoring order for people like this"

People like who? This "no smoke without fire" nonsense makes a mockery of our legal system.

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Silver badge

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

but it doesn't mean that he didn't commit the offence - it means only that the jury were not sure that he did.

Innocent in fact, or otherwise, he was not found guilty by the jury and he therefore has the right not to be punished for it. It sounds like he should be bringing suit against the police for theft (of his phone, etc.). Hopefully someone will take on his case pro-bono.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"community psychiatric nurse notes said he had been sexually violent to past girlfriends and he was "not sure" if they had consented. He told her he needed women "to be scared" during sex or "I don't respond",

Which in would be like consensual noncensent or similar in the BDSM community if I am correct? Not illegal between partners.

Admittedly not sure if they consented could be a grey area, but then again could be open to misinterpreation as he claims.

Not really sure it justifies how this guy is being treated, especially as he has been cleared of any wrongdoing, and lets be honest what prosecutor does not try and make the defendant look bad?

Also note if you think people being cleared at trial can still be presumed guilty, you do realise you are leaving yourself open to any trumped up charge someone throws at you? Even if you are cleared by your logic the best thing to do would be to go no I dont believe the jury and treat you like the scumbag you must be.

Just a question how would you like to be on the receiving end?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

Guilty until proven innocent?

"The burden of proof lies with he who asserts, not he who denies."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

Except in Scotland, where you have "Not Proven".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

Within the BDSM community consensual non-consent is a thing, But its something that has to be approached with great care as this case demonstrates.

Normally it would be between two people who are already involved in an on-going BDSM relationship and already have a high level of mutual trust in place.

The important thing here is its CONSENSUAL non-consent so at some point there should have been a discussion and and clear consent given that from that point on consent would not be sought at every 'event'. Some people even go to the lengths of signing a contract, though not legally enforceable or binding but at least an indication of intent and consent.

These would normally include 'soft limits' that the submissive would be willing to explore and experiment with. And 'hard' limits that are 100% off-limit.

If as the Dominant party you are unsure consent is in place then you don't do it!

But I agree as he has not been found guilty of any crime and a tenant of British law is presumed innocent until found guilty, then these measures, if as reported, are very Orwellian and totally disproportionate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

... but somehow the police did have enough evidence to convince a judge to issue this SRO, .

.... because it could never happen that plod just makes it up because "they KNOW he is guilty".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

There is more to the case than the Psychiatric Nurse's statement. To quote:

"The nurse noted he had suicidal thoughts and had been "preoccupied with killing himself and others" - an idea he found "soothing"."

With a discussion with a GP

'...he discussed "biting and choking" sexual partners'

'...had said his sex life had become violent.'

'Thinks he may have raped someone, it went further than she expected'

'Patient thinks he is dangerous and needs to be stopped.'

'... he thought about killing a partner "a lot" and had "choked her unconscious several times," '

You can see why the medical practitioners and the police are very concerned.

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Meh

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"Not guilty...That does not mean, nor can it mean, the person is blameless in everything they have done in life".

You are quite correct. So maybe we should hang you, just in case? It won't disturb our sleep. After all, you've as good as admitted that you're "guilty of something".

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"Admittedly not sure if they consented could be a grey area, but then again could be open to misinterpreation as he claims."

This may have been a 'grey area' right up until the point he was charged with another offence and this whole case went public. You can pretty much guarantee that if one of the prior 'grey area' partners had came forward to the police with a complaint the police would have tried to add that to the charge sheet too.

The fact that this has had so much publicity in the press etc means that you have to assume that these 'grey areas' are less grey now and were in fact consensual.

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hmv

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

No that's not what "not guilty" means. It means what it says - there isn't sufficient evidence to find someone guilty. They could be innocent, or they're actually guilty but there's not sufficient proof.

That's not to say someone found "not guilty" shouldn't be treated as innocent.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

On this side of the Pond there is a Constitutional provision of "Double Jeopardy" which means the state only gets one chance to try someone and if found not guilty the defendant walks. Not sure of UK or EU law on that point. This sounds like a form of double jeopardy.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

People like who? This "no smoke without fire" nonsense makes a mockery of our legal system.

Sorry, but I disagree. A judge looked at details of the case, and based on what he saw, elected to grant the order against this guy, and he did that for a reason. Do you also think that people who've been linked with terrorist or extremist organisations and radicalised, but haven't yet been convicted of any crime, shouldn't be subject to extra monitoring?

People can show clear signs that they are on the path towards committing certain crimes prior to actually committing them, and it is entirely right of our legal system to identify such people and take steps to prevent them from committing said crimes in the first place. Denying that is what I would say makes a mockery of justice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

Within the BDSM community consensual non-consent is a thing, But its something that has to be approached with great care as this case demonstrates.

You may see that from the BDSM community perspective, but for outsiders and policemen who need something they can say in court that plays well in the newspapers it forms a very convenient stick to beat someone with (pardon the unintentional pun).

"Outsiders" tend not to see the whole picture, only what the screech papers feed them. In addition, any "insiders" inside the force and judicial system will happily throw the first stone in that context to camouflage their involvement which tends to result in even further skewed judgement.

That said, the psych report does not exactly make for encouraging reading. I can see why he may have been able to walk out of a court without a conviction but still be considered a risk. However, how the SRO was implemented seems weirdly ineffective and more aimed at pushing this guy to go off the rails completely. In addition, I'm no expert but it strikes me that it's easier to hide victims in a bush than it is when living in a house...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

Quite disturbing that a doctor and nurse are testifying against a patient.

Is it possible they misunderstood?

Is it possible he exaggerated to seek attention?

If doctors are testifying against patients, who is going to be honest with their doctor in future?

Is someone in a similar position going to seek help from a medical professional after they hear about this case?

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Meh

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

We have double jeopardy as well but a few years ago it was modified to allow for retrial if the evidence has significantly changed.

More info here.

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Silver badge

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

People can show clear signs that they are on the path towards committing certain crimes prior to actually committing them, and it is entirely right of our legal system to identify such people and take steps to prevent them from committing said crimes in the first place.

Thought police then?

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

From his various statements today it looks like he has a mental health problem not a criminal one.

He admits to being a Sado-Masochist which if done right is fine. However he doesn't seem to be respecting his partner's safety which isn't legal.

He admits to having serious thoughts about hurting himself & others since he was a kid. These don't appear to be sexually based.

He has been on hunger strike and on benefits since the imposition of the order.

The order does effectively prevent him working and the public accusation he is a sexual pervert / predator means no one will employ him.

I suspect they tried to jail him, then tried to section him , failed and then deployed the SRO. The Police are now desperately trying to save face and keep him from possibly offending.

Whilst I wouldn't like women anywhere near him on the evidence presented it does seem they have over stepped the mark. They need to fix his problems not ruin his life.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

Is there some general connection between BDSM and British Law?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"Quite disturbing that a doctor and nurse are testifying against a patient."

No it's not. They should and are expected to disclose safeguarding issues to the appropriate authorities. The hippocratic oath does not stop someone who states something from having that information divulged to the relevant authorities if it is felt that there might be serious consequences from not disclosing it. In fact the doctor could face litigation if they did not disclose information.

They will try to arrange help for a patient and encourage self disclosure but are under no obligation to keep all conversations private.

If a patient says that they are have given up hope and are going to hang themselves and the doctor feels it is credible then the police will be informed. If a patient states that they are thinking of murdering someone or commit mass murder then expect that to be disclosed as well. If someone is deemed to have CP issues that will be escalated. Even if you are deemed unfit to drive and you do not volunteer this information to the DVLA then expect you doctor to disclose it on your behalf.

This is all right and proper, and the public would expect it, why on earth shouldn't they? Otherwise you get situations like the one where the Germanwings pilot downed a plane.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

People can show clear signs that they are on the path towards committing certain crimes prior to actually committing them

I have one thing to say.

Minority Report.

That is all.

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Clear signs

"People can show clear signs that they are on the path towards committing certain crimes prior to actually committing them, and it is entirely right of our legal system to identify such people and take steps to prevent them from committing said crimes in the first place. Denying that is what I would say makes a mockery of justice."

I believe you are showing clear signs of being on a path to removing the legal basis of "innocent until found guilty". It is entirely right that the legal system you wish to over-throw identifies you and takes steps to prevent you committing any crimes against human rights.

Please hand yourself into the nearest police station, where you can be tagged, photographed and interrogated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

On this side of the Pond there is a Constitutional provision of "Double Jeopardy" which means the state only gets one chance to try someone and if found not guilty the defendant walks. Not sure of UK or EU law on that point. This sounds like a form of double jeopardy.

Maybe, but Double Jeopardy simply means, as you say, that you can't be tried twice.

This is more like being found not guilty for a DWI/DUI charge and then having the state cancel your driver's licence anyway. That also doesn't stop the police from paying a closer eye to you, excessively patrolling your neighborhood (just in front of your house), etc.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

If violent fantasies are banned, Quentin Tarantino better steer clear of the UK.

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Silver badge

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

From his various statements today it looks like he has a mental health problem not a criminal one.

If he didn't have one it probably would not be a suprise he has one now.

I suspect they tried to jail him, then tried to section him , failed and then deployed the SRO. The Police are now desperately trying to save face and keep him from possibly offending.

Generally speaking if you can't jail him for lack of evidence, and you can't section him for lack of evidence than maybe there was not enough evidence. Also I'm not sure any mental health proffessionals would say persecue them to an inch of their life is the sort of thing to get someone back on track.

Like you said if their were issues maybe helping him would have been a better idea. This comes across as the plod being rather vindictive.

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Holmes

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

If patients are not assured of confidentiality in talking with psychiatric personnel.. rest assured that they won't talk with them. They'll just escalate to violence instead.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"If a patient says that they are have given up hope and are going to hang themselves and the doctor feels it is credible then the police will be informed."

Would they? I'm not sure they have the legal right (or requirement) to interfere unless they feel the patient should be sectioned under the Mental Health Act, and I think you can be suicidal and still technically considered sane.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

If the medical and psychiatric practitioners believe he is a danger to himself or others, surely their proper course of action is to direct him to a suitable hospital. If he resists he could be 'sectioned'. <http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/legal-rights/sectioning/#>. Of course that would cost the NHS money and would't titillate any police.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"Would they? I'm not sure they have the legal right (or requirement) ..."

Yes, of course they will. There is no legal right/wrong and it is not interfering, it is a duty of care. The Police part was assuming they have refused treatment and left, obviously the first instance they will be encouraged to attend hospital.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"People can show clear signs that they are on the path towards committing certain crimes prior to actually committing them, and it is entirely right of our legal system to identify such people and take steps to prevent them from committing said crimes in the first place. Denying that is what I would say makes a mockery of justice."

I think I've seen where that sort of thinking leads.

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Silver badge

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

Double Jeopardy is scrapped in the UK. Now you can be tried repeatedly if new evidence comes to light. I think it was when DNA evidence became a thing but I'm not sure. I do remember Blair announcing it.

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Alert

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"This comes across as the plod being rather vindictive."

Be under no illusion, if the Police charge you and you go to court and are found not guilty, in their eyes you're just one who got away, if they get the chance to punish you in the future you'll be the first person in their cross-hairs.

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Bronze badge

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"No that's not what "not guilty" means. It means what it says - there isn't sufficient evidence to find someone guilty."

If it "means what it says" then "not guilty" means EXACTLY what it says "NOT FUCKING GUILTY"

What it doesn't mean is what you're imagining it means in your fascist little world which is apparently,

"OF COURSE THEY'RE FUCKING GUILTY, WE JUST HAVEN'T TURNED THE THUMBSCREWS ENOUGH SO THEY CONFESS"

There was plenty of twats like you during the Spanish Inquisition, I have nothing but contempt for wankers like you. I can so picture you shouting Burn the witch because some poor old lady was found with unholy herbs in her pocket.

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Silver badge

Re: Giving the police

The article appears to claim that he actually is not guilty, that he had not in fact committed the acts of which he was accused. In that case, this is correct.

Sometimes, people who commit serious crimes are still set free, because of inadmissibility of evidence or trial delays. In such cases, such an order is entirely appropriate to protect the public. But care must be taken that they are not doing this to someone who is actually innocent.

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Re: Giving the police

"Sometimes, people who commit serious crimes are still set free, because of inadmissibility of evidence or trial delays. In such cases, such an order is entirely appropriate to protect the public."

No, still not appropriate.

You do realize that things like "inadmissibility of evidence" are there to stop the police fitting people up, right (which they have shown themselves in even the recent past totally willing to do so)? We don't just have those adjustments to the law because we like setting serious criminals free...They are there to protect the innocent, like the whole criminal justice system in general.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

A judge looked at what the police showed him.

Unfortunately the police force is full of judgemental people who aren't really very clever but who have had years of practice presenting "evidence" to judges and know how to tick the right boxes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

The police can be very vindictive. I found a very expensive new iPhone 6 (large) with no charge and handed in to a passing policeman.

I called the station later that day to make sure it was put to my name in case it wasn't claimed so that it would be mine after 3 months.

It never got to the station (I checked a few times) and I put in a complaint.

I got stopped in my car several times over the following weeks though no action was ever taken the coppers (different ones) always said "You do know why we are stopping you, don't you!"

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Silver badge

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

There seems to be a trend to apply some sanctions on civil levels of proof, i.e., balance of probabilities. You then make the ASBO, SRO etc. subject to criminal sanctions if broken.

This is an extreme example if what I've read (in this and other August organs) is true and completely OTT. If he has a problem surely the answer is to section him and get suitable treatment.

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Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

"This is all right and proper, and the public would expect it, why on earth shouldn't they? Otherwise you get situations like the one where the Germanwings pilot downed a plane."

You are missing the point.

If all doctors have to 'tell tales' on any pilot who is suicidal, what do you think is going to happen? It won't stop pilots potentially comitting suicide. It will stop them talking to doctors.

The same applies here. This man told the doctor/nurse some things, presummably because he wanted help. Now his life is ruined. What will the effect be on anyone else having similar thoughts? Will they ever talk to someone? No. Does that make the world a safer place?

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Silver badge

Re: "He was found not guilty, therefore he is innocent"

There was plenty of twats like you during the Spanish Inquisition

The Spanish Inquisition's jurisdiction was Spain and in all Spanish colonies and territories (the Canary Islands, the Spanish Netherlands, the Kingdom of Naples, and all Spanish possessions in North, Central, and South America). From 1480 to 1834 the inquisition executed ~3,000 people following trials of ~150,000. It was indeed the blood thirstiest of the three Inquisitions.

For comparison, the 20th Century secular German National Socialist Party had planned to kill 80 million people in the Soviet Union alone. In the event, they managed to kill only ~10 million before the 2nd World War allies defeated the Axis.

Historians are bemused by people who are so ready to condemn the Christian church for its excessive bloodlust, yet give the secular governments of the 20th Century a free pass.

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Silver badge

Re: Giving the police

This is one reason police departments go bad so easily. Sooner or later, police are going to come across someone who they are personally quite sure is guilty (they may even be right) but can't convict for one reason or another. This leads to police offers who got into the profession for the cause of justice, and now see justice going unfulfilled. The temptation to correct this is immediate, which leads to them either going on a fishing expedition (Everyone is guilty of something if you look hard enough!) or abusing the legal process to ensure the perceived-guilty is punished.

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