Innocent until proven guilty

by Emrah Erken

You say: "On the basis of the documentation and the doctrine of Innocent until Proven Guilty, Bix is innocent."

This is not quite correct and I'll explain you why.

What you call "innocent until proven guilty" is a legal right that the accused in criminal trials has in many modern countries. It's called "Presumption of Innocence".

As said, it's the right of the ACCUSED and therefore, Bix doesn't have that right anymore because he doesn't need it. You have this right only DURING the procedure (investigation phase and decision phase (by the court) of a criminal case). When the case is closed you are not "presumed innocent", you are completely innocent.

Therefore, Bix is not innocent until proven guilty. He's simply innocent. Today, there is no case Beiderbecke...

Not even finding new documentation would change that fact. Even if you found a diary entry by that girl stating that a person (if you want even Bix) molested her as a child would make it any different. In a criminal case, a defendant has always the right to give his statement about allegations and other pieces of evidence. In this case, this is impossible.

There is almost no hypothetic possibility to change the fact that Bix is innocent. The only thing that comes to my mind is a written statement by Bix himself about this issue giving detailed information about it. I would say that this is highly hypothetic if not impossible.

Bix is innocent and will it be forever. Brendan is not quite correct about the legal aspect of this. A decision by the state acquitting a person from a certain crime lasts forever (unless the case is being reopened later) and even a dead person has some rights protecting his reputation or the reputation of his family.

I find it highly problematic to even question Bix's innocence, particularly because of the fact that the criminal investigation in this case had been closed before it really began. Therefore, the documentation of it is more than just poor. It's almost nothing. As said before, not even "new evidence" would change the fact that Bix is innocent.

As I wrote in my previous posting, the interesting issue here is not the case itself but the effects of the whole incident on Bix.

I hope most of the forumites have not experienced an arrest or a detention in custody. Those who have not experienced it usually don't know how traumatic such an experience is. I have regular contact to such people. The term "freedom" has another definition for people who have experienced such a thing in their lifetimes. Particularly for a young person, such an experience is even tougher. I have had underage clients and I know what I'm talking about. In my opinion, such an experience always leaves wounds on a person who was arrested during childhood or teenage years.

The case of Bix has other particularities which causes in my opinion even deeper wounds.

One of the reasons is the fact that the crime concerned here is the unspeakable. It's a social taboo. It's not just about an allegation of steeling chocolate from the grocery store. Just consider the fact that no biographer had mentioned the incident until 2001. Why is that so? Because even being the subject to such a case can ruin your reputation. Even if the case is closed - if you want with a court decision finding a person not guilty - people just continue talking. Just look at the case of Michael Jackson. Just consider the fact that there is still discussion about Bix's case even today.

Being accused of child abuse and being arrested are awful experiences. Just imagine the effects of this experience on Bix and consider everything what we know about him as a child. Bix was such a fragile child, loved by everyone, his mother's darling and grew up well protected with his family... How much must have this whole incident hurt Bix? I think terribly... I can imagine that he must have terrible feelings of guilt that he had involved his family into this case in which the infringement of a taboo was the subject. Bix must have felt terribly embarrassed.

After this incident, Bix was sent to Lake Forrest Academy by his father. This meant that he was separated from his family and friends who were so important to him after having experienced such a trauma.

Furthermore, his family had to spend money for the boarding school. I can imagine that this might have caused also feelings of guilt to Bix and the feeling that he was a burden for his family. It has most certainly caused a lot of pressure on him. After all this disappointment, he might have thought, that he was not allowed to fail. And this is actually, what we can read in his letter to home.

I believe the whole incident is not interesting from a criminal point of view because Bix is innocent and he will always be. This whole incident was much more an important turning point in Bix's life which wasn't the same after it.


Posted on Dec 26, 2009, 7:16 AM

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