Presumed innocent? Yes, but…

Presumed guilty

The organisers of the Australian Open, one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, are heaving a great sigh of relief even as we speak.

To their delight, Alexander Zverev of Germany has lost his semi-final match today. They were hoping he’d lose earlier, but this later exit will have to do to be going on with. As long as he isn’t feted as the champion.

Why are they so anti-Zverev? Is it because they hate Germans, which is his nationality? Or Russians, which is his ethnicity? No, neither of those. Nevertheless, throughout the tournament there sounded increasingly shrill demands that Zverev not be allowed to play at all.

Now, when people object to Russian citizens playing international sports, one can understand. Russia is after all waging a criminal, aggressive war in the heart of Europe. Moreover, the Russians have a long history of using sport successes for propaganda purposes.

Hence I’d welcome imposing a total boycott on Russian performers in either sports or arts. However, no sensible person would demand a similar injunction against a chap born in Hamburg, just because he happens to be Russian genetically.

To the Aussies’ credit, they don’t stoop to such racism. Their problem with Zverev is different. You see, he is currently under indictment for abusing his former girlfriend. However, the court date is set for May, so the player hasn’t yet been tried and found guilty.

Australia is ruled by some version of the English common law, and hence the country’s population must be familiar with the ancient concept of the presumption of innocence. Moreover, I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that even Western nations playing in the lower legal leagues, those governed by Justinian or Napoleonic codes, tend to wait for the verdict before demonising the accused.

So why not wait until May to decide what to do with Zverev? If he is found guilty, drum him out of tennis, throw him under the bus, have him drawn and quartered. Or else agree that to forgive is divine and let him ply his trade, after perhaps some sort of suspension. But do wait in any case: the chap is innocent until proven guilty. Isn’t he?

This is where the ‘but’ in the title above comes from. Or perhaps ‘that depends’, if you’d rather. For the presumption of innocence works in some crime categories, but not in others.

Not that the letter of the law has changed. It hasn’t. But in all Western countries there now exists a parallel legal system: mob rule. And not just any old mob, but specifically one out to override the law of the land and enforce in its place the interlacing system of pernicious fads collectively known as wokery.

The woke mob doesn’t object to holding a thief, a burglar, even a murderer innocent until proven guilty. Those felons commit crimes only against individual victims, which is regrettable but variously tolerable. By contrast, anyone transgressing against one of the cherished woke fads strikes against the whole ethos.

This kind of pecking order is nothing new. In fact, it’s a ghastly parody of Judaeo-Christian morality. There the first four of the Ten Commandments, prioritised in the descending order of importance, proscribe lapses in worship. Injunctions against murder, theft, perjury and so forth are further down the list.

However, the Decalogue came from a good and loving God who knew that people stigmatised by original sin needed a constant reminder of what it meant to be good. The commandments of wokery, on the other hand, come not from those who love but from those who hate.

They have no real virtue to signal, so they come up with alternative commandments underpinning their parallel ethos, one they hope will swallow up the real, traditional one they detest. You don’t need me to remind you of which fake virtues make up the new canon. Suffice it to say that feminism is right up there.

A sinner against feminist diktats isn’t innocent until proven guilty. He is guilty the moment he is charged, and the standards of required proof range from loose to non-existent.

If the constitutionally instituted bodies balk at following that logic, then punishment can be meted out by the expedients that come naturally to crazed mobs. Prime among them is the attempt to destroy the defendant’s life and career by launching a shrill campaign in every available medium.

That’s exactly what has happened to Zverev. If he were charged with beating up an elderly passer-by within an inch of his life, he would stand accused of a crime against both that individual and the law designed to protect individuals. The presumption of innocence is part of that law, and it’s a cornerstone of Western justice. Since Australians are Western (and I shan’t entertain any denials of that fact), I’m sure they’d have no problem with Zverev playing in Melbourne before his trial date.

But the Australian woke mob, just like its equivalents throughout the world, lives by different justice. Crippling a passer-by is unfortunate, but judgement can be deferred. However, slapping a girlfriend or a wife demands summary justice – the putative crime has been committed not against one woman, but against womankind, the minority group believed to have been oppressed throughout history.

It’s pointless arguing that women haven’t always been oppressed, and neither are they a minority. That’s like trying to persuade a Muslim that there is a god other than Allah, and Mohammed isn’t his prophet. We aren’t talking historical evidence, arithmetic or physical facts here. We are talking what’s believed to be higher, metaphysical truth to which only the initiated are privy.

Thankfully, the Australian Open organisers didn’t go along with woke demands. They waited until Zverev lost his semi-final to send him back to Germany – as the rest of us will wait for the court verdict. They have, however, tried not to make any fuss about Zverev’s tennis throughout the tournament, limiting their press releases to the bare minimum.

I wonder how they reconcile their coyness with what’s going on in another country practising the English common law, the US. There a man currently under several separate indictments is competing not just in a tennis tournament, but in the presidential race. Not only is he allowed to compete but, if early indications are anything to go by, he will probably win. Oh well, different strokes for different folks, as Americans say.

2 thoughts on “Presumed innocent? Yes, but…”

  1. Australia has a disconcerting taste for mob ‘justice’. The Cardinal Pell and and Bruce Lehrmann examples are particularly egregious.

  2. Presumption of guilt also increases as eumelanin decreases. Therefore, a man with a preponderance of eumelanin may commit any number of crimes and it is understood as his search for a solution to centuries of injustice. A man with a higher percentage of pheomelanin is presumed guilty of crimes against humanity just by being born.

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