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Dr Martin Roberts:   About Innocence Mm11

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Dr Martin Roberts: About Innocence

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Dr Martin Roberts:   About Innocence Empty Dr Martin Roberts: About Innocence

Post by Verdi on 27.10.19 13:02

Dr Martin Roberts:   About Innocence Mccannstlg003b


By Dr Martin Roberts
08 January 2014


Readers will no doubt be aware of, or may probably have seen the very recent ITV broadcast: The Lying Game – Crimes That Fooled Britain. For a production which leant heavily upon the contributions of currently active Academics, it was disappointing on a number of levels, not the least of which being the altogether cavalier and confusing way in which the term 'innocent' was bandied about. The reduction of descriptive comparison, very early on, to 'this man is innocent, this man is guilty', with nothing of the circumstantial context in either case, was frankly irresponsible. It is scarcely made less so when the term is liberally applied in relation to more explicit past examples of wrongdoing, even those that have been tested in a court of law.

The term 'innocent' is absolute, and not therefore entirely appropriate in every case, which will obviously include those where it is bestowed on the balance of probability. It would be a mistake to suppose that miscarriages of justice occur in one direction alone. There will inevitably be occasions where individuals are found 'innocent of all charges', despite their having committed the crime(s), just as there are those who, having been declared 'guilty' in the first instance, are acquitted following an appeal, or where the initial case against them collapses owing to some legal technicality or other. The latter situation is therefore more an example of 'case not proven' (or perhaps not even fully examined) than it is a demonstration of innocence per se.

Like a vial of nitro-glycerine, the word 'innocent', when used within in a legal context, is very sensitive, and should be handled with care. A citizen first found guilty of a crime by a jury of his or her peers, and who goes on to lodge a successful appeal is ultimately innocent therefore, or is at least to be viewed as such after due legal process. But guilt or innocence, like the weather, is not something that can be 'traded'. (The now defunct Enron corporation attempted the latter, but their collapse only served to prove the point). As regards the commission of a crime, someone is either guilty or innocent, literally. They cannot be both. Nor can their status migrate, in reality, from one to the other. And yet re-trials, appeals etc. give the impression of this happening. It is worthwhile therefore to distinguish between guilt and innocence in absolute terms, and those same attributes as finally determined by a court of law, since the two may not (indeed will not) be the same on every occasion.

With this caveat in view, what should one make of a professional's assessment that the McCanns are 'one hundred per cent innocent'? (At least Dr Leal, in this instance, did not succumb to the popular temptation to exceed the bounds of calculation and confer 110% innocence. She won't therefore be featuring as a judge for one of Simon Cowell's televised competitions any time soon). As 'sloppy' a remark as the 'Four legs good two legs bad' statement at the head of the programme, Dr Leal's observation fails to inform us of quite what it is that the McCanns are innocent of! Similarly the programme gave viewers to understand, albeit indirectly, that dingos now know how to fold clothing, following a batch illustration (although not demonstration) of 'innocence.'

It was all very slipshod.

One thing at least which Dr Leal overlooked was the innocence of a third McCann – Madeleine. Perhaps in a future programme, instead of treating us to a reworking of skill performance studies conducted over fifty years ago, Dr Leal might invite the McCanns themselves to elaborate upon their own assessments of their daughter's innocence:

GM: "I think Madeleine's picture herself that she was such a beautiful innocent young girl."

(IBA conference, Madrid, 6.10.09)

GM: "'s about Madeleine and there's an innocent little girl that's missing."

(McCanns exclusive interview with SIC, 12.5.2009)

GM: "Why would someone try to persuade the public that a missing child, an innocent missing child, is dead?"

(McCanns exclusive interview with SIC, 12.5.2009)

KM: "It is still incumbent upon the British and Portuguese authorities to ensure that every credible lead has been investigated and that a meaning... meaningful search for an innocent and vulnerable little girl, our dearly loved Madeleine, is properly carried out."

(Please Don't Give Up On Madeleine, 19.2.2010 - McCanns' statement)

GM: "But Madeleine's rights should be put first. She's missing, she's innocent, and whoever's taken her is still out there, and that has to be of paramount importance."

(Daily Mirror, 19.2.2010)

"Kate McCann sent an emotional letter to the head of the Portuguese police begging him to keep her informed during the investigation into her daughter Madeleine's disappearance.

"In it she pleaded for an end to 'finger-pointing blame and a return to finding 'a beautiful, innocent little girl who is still missing', case files revealed today."

(Sky News video 12.37 - 6.8.2008)

The McCanns: "Our little girl is now seven years old; innocent, vulnerable and waiting to be found. Please, please sign the petition and help us to find her."

( 3.11.2010)

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx

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Dr Martin Roberts:   About Innocence Empty Re: Dr Martin Roberts: About Innocence

Post by worriedmum on 27.10.19 23:42

  I too have noticed this emphasis on 'innocent' and have been compiling a list.

 Here are two examples from my list. Please save the video clip if you can.

Gerry McCann: ;'As parents we're just... we're asking... as parents for people to try and reunite an innocent four-year-old girl with her parents.'
Antena 3 interview
Transcript by Nigel Moore

And how about this?  If you had assumed that the word 'innocence' was used to describe a state of childhood, you may wonder at Gerry's 'completely innocent' remark. What does that sound like to you?  

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