Innocent until proven guilty unless your name is Jenkins

August 10, 2010

I have no idea whether or not Sion Jenkins killed his foster daughter, and neither really does anyone else except of course Jenkins himself.

But his earlier conviction has been overturned, on the basis that his guilt cannot be proven, and he is out of jail. But his attempt to secure compensation for wrongful imprisonment has been quashed.

I don’t know about most people, but I have a problem with that. If we have a principle of “innocent until proven guilty” then we should apply it fairly and consistently. With Jenkins’s conviction overturned he should be in the same position as anyone else who has not been found guilty of that crime. Suspicions or speculation about his involvement, or even a collection of  facts which are suggestive of guilt make no difference so long as they do not add up to proof.

He was not proven guilty so should be treated as being as innocent as the next man. And that means he should not have been imprisoned and, accordingly, should get compensation for wrongful imprisonment.

The Ministry of Justice’s position that compensation should only be paid when the victim of wrongful imprisonment is shown to be “clearly innocent” strikes me as insupportable. Under the “innocent until proven guilty” principle Jenkins is as clearly innocent as he needs to be for damages to be payable.

In legal terms either Jenkins is guilty or he is innocent. Unlike in Scotland, there is no half-way house. So whatever anyone might think or suspect, the judicial system should either find the evidence to convict him or it should pay him his compensation.

Not doing so sets a dangerous precedent which could be readily abused to deny compensation in future cases of  miscarriage of justice. The burden of proof to find someone guilty in the courts is a tough one, but the question of whether anyone is “clearly innocent” seems to be determined at the whim of the Ministry of Justice.



  1. I know. I stuff people’s aelehosrs into their pockets every day. Oh, you mean the buffalo? Yeah. I agree: Beautiful. I see them every day. Beats the shit out of the view of a metal/concrete/glass scenario every time, doesn’t it?And yet, if you told the people of HK that this, and more, could be your every morning view, they would completely freak out.

  2. The world is cnhgniag. We won’t stop it from cnhgniag by passing laws such as these nor by moving inside gated communities. I have a little difficulty writing about it because I keep falling into a practice that I think must change if we are to make progress. The problem is that my writing voice is racially Caucasian, economically middle class, spiritually Protestant, and ancestrally European. Those of us who are in that group have come to think of these as part of the defining characteristics of American .And many feel that those characteristics entitle them to an unchanging world in which Anglo males are favored for every influential role in society. The America of Ozzie and Harriet is no more. It’s not something to be missed or looked for in laws to lock out the different . A happy little island of white people using more than their share of the world’s resources won’t be tolerated forever. The happiest ending I can see requires that we maintain an open society one that is open to change, open to new cultural influences, and open, at last, to removing race from the list of characteristics we use to determine who gets what in society.BLW, your political antennae are very sensitive and I think you would have much to contribute to political discussion on the boards if you spoke out more politically on the issues you have addressed, so far, only personally and emotionally. This stuff needs fixin’ if our kids are to have a decent world to live in. If you wrote more on these topics, it would help. You have lived America’s institutionalized injustice. You have a voice. Maybe another blog would be better if you think the folks here don’t want to talk about politics. But I think these readers need to hear more from you on these topics. You have a very special voice and experience to write from.

  3. Did he go to prison? YES

    Should he have gone to prison? NO

    Whose fault was it he went to prison when he shouldn’t have? THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

    Should he be compensated? YES

    That really is all there should be to it in every case, regardless of anyone’s suspicions and opinions.

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