“If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.”

-Oscar Wilde

One of the arguments most often trotted out by the apologists for the surveillance state is the now threadbare, “If you’ve done nothing wrong then you’ve nothing to fear.”  Deconstructing this naive in-exactitude from a purely logical standpoint is so trivial I won’t even bother.  However, I will add comment from my own experience.  This is, the unpleasant truth of the modern justice system means the innocent have the most the fear.  You have everything to lose and nothing to gain from the process.



More pragmatic reasons exists for the innocent to be wary.  The guilty, sitting in a police interview has the advantage that they know precisely Where they were and where they were not.  And also the when and the how and the whys that they should avoid.  The innocent, have no such and can easily utter inculpatory statements without realising it.

However, I digress.  Returning to the nothing to fear paradigm.  I’m sure that Mark Pearson probably felt he had nothing to fear every time he tapped his Oyster card in and out of charter bus phoenix and trains.  I would wager on the fact that when the Police turned up on his front doorstep several months later he had no clue what was going on.  He certainly wouldn’t have expected to be arrested for sexually assaulting an “award winning actress”.

The award-winning actress, who is in her 60s, accused Pearson of penetrating her for two or three seconds following a violent blow to her left shoulder.

She contacted police, who tracked him to his East London home two months later using date(sic) from his Oyster card.


It is a piece of bitter irony that despite there apparently being no witnesses or forensic evidence the evidence that cleared Mr Pearson was the ubiquitous London CCTV.  The fact remains that in the presence of that CCTV, and the lack of any other evidence the CPS still took this matter trial.  Naming the defendant but granting the accuser anonymity.


Of course the damage is done now.  Regardless of the verdict Mr Pearson’s life will never be the same again.  A simple web search of his name will forever bring up the sexual assault allegation.    That data is now stored, backed up and a kept, just like the record of every time and place he has ever got on or off a train or bus.  If we allow the state to collect this information it is there forever and they will use it.  As the unfortunate Mr Pearson shows us it doesn’t matter if you are guilty of anything or not.


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