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What do John Stalker, Kevin Taylor and Denis Lehane have in common?

They were all innocent men. They were self-made men who came from lowly origins in society, working class and lower middle class. A policeman, a businessman and a journalist, they were men of highest professionalism, integrity and eminent in their fields.

But that did not protect them from gratuitous attack from the state – from authorities that they all held in appropriate respect.

Each of them were subjected to professional sabotage, financial and legal attacks, (resulting in professional and financial ruin), slander, smear campaigns impugning their characters, variously including sexual misconducts which were completely concocted, inappropriate social behaviour implying mental imbalance, drug abuse and criminal activities which they were not involved in. Laws were broken, ignored and manipulated in order to get at them. And one, the Irish journalist Lehain, was confined to a lunatic asylum after a show trial worthy of the Soviet Union, on trumped up charges, from which he was lucky to be released after sustaining permanent physical disability due to a spine injury resulting from a beating.

If people like these can’t trust the authorities, who can.