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Don’t think innocence is any defence.  And don’t suppose that criminals are the only people you need to worry about.

Sir Cliff Richard.  Accused of a crime he did not commit then subjected to extreme public stigmatisation based on those accusations.  Fortunately he had the resources to fight back and clear his name but he was still subjected  to ignominy, stress and having his life disrupted for no reason at all.  Others in the same situation, also innocent, completely financially ruined – loss of life’s savings, their homes, their careers, and sometimes their familys shattered.

It was against such arbitrary use of power that over the last thousand years the people fought back against their rulers to establish such principles as innocent until proved guilty, the right to not have your wealth confiscated by the state on a whim, and prohibition of arbitrary detention.  In recent times all these rights have been whittled away, and as demonstrated in the case of Sir Cliff Richard whose situation of having his life arbitrarily trashed by the state was not a unique event, it is clear that our supposed democratic rights, freedoms, and protection under rule of law are failing in a context where anyone can be ruined by arbitrary state action based on no more than a false accusation.

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