I did a bad thing here yesterday. A stupid, emotional thing that was contradictory and lame - not unusual, I'm perpetually full of it, but I want to own up to it this time.
I linked to David Cameron bemoaning the low rates of sex crime convictions, and then I linked a successful terrorism conviction and got sceptical and paranoid about it. This is not only an inconsistent attitude towards criminal justice, towards the principle of innocent until proven guilty - it's also inconsistent regarding individual people.
I've mentioned this in passing before: there's these two guys - Jean Charles de Menezes and Mohammed Abdul Kahar. You've probably heard of at least one of them.
I'm not cherrypicking examples here - they are the only two people to have been shot by Metropolitan Police officers as part of Operation Kratos, in which a shoot-to-kill order was applied to terror suspects who were thought to be capable of causing imminent damage. Menezes died after being shot eight times while catching a train at Stockwell tube station, and Kahar survived being shot once in the chest during a house raid at Forest Gate.
Both were, within days, confirmed to be innocent of terrorism.
Both were, shortly afterwards, charged with sex crimes - Menezes was accused of rape and Kahar was accused of downloading child porn.
Further forensic examination found that both charges were as devoid of substance as the original terrorism suspicions.
So if we're going to ask that our legal system doesn't shoot to kill, assumes innocence until guilt is proven, and requires a case to be solid beyond reasonable doubt, that has to apply to terrorism and to sex crimes because the wrongly accused may well be the exact same people, under suspicion for the exact same reasons. (and it doesn't take much in the way of paranoia to cause speculation as to why these two men were wrongly accused of sex crimes - if it happens the next two times as well, maybe we can talk about a trend).