Beyond reasonable doubt

The Michael Jackson verdict is great news. Not because Jackson was certainly innocent. In common with most people who were prepared to consider the evidence, I can not be sure of that at all. It is great news because it shows that the system works. Before anyone, celebrity or unknown, can be deprived of their liberty, the state has to make an overwhelming case. The state failed. Its witnesses were either completely lacking in credibility - the whole Arviso family, for example - or did not say what the state expected them to - Jackson's wife. The state's case was incomplete. No-one could properly have been convicted on weak evidence like that, and this is a principle more important that Michael Jackson, Gavin Arviso, or any of the other participants.

Speaking of witnesses who lack credibility, it was a good call by Thomas Messerau not to put Jackson on the stand. That might have led to a whole different verdict.

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