Tue | Jun 6, 2023

Confession vs presumption of innocence

Published:Sunday | August 2, 2015 | 12:00 AMGordon Robinson, Contributor

Why do people 'confess'?

People usually confess because they're guilty. Most confessions are 'coerced' (few confess 'voluntarily'). But 'coercion' is a complicated concept, despite the law recognising only confessions obtained under physical duress as 'coerced'. Even confessions legally 'coerced' are mostly made by guilty persons.

Also, many confessions are false, often 'coerced' under circumstances law won't recognise as 'duress'. People have innumerable reasons for falsely confessing, including:

- Bad advice by cowardly lawyers afraid of trials;

- Protection of loved ones the confessors believe guilty.

But the most frequent motivation for false confessions is, directly or indirectly, Goodman's Law. Remember Goodman's Law? Don't ask if it's about the money. It's ALWAYS about the money.

The rich and famous will falsely confess as part of a scheme (aka 'settlement') to throw money at a potentially embarrassing situation, thus ending it. Such confessors are dishonest opportunists, but not guilty of the 'confessed' wrong. Goodman's Law motivation is most effective when opportunists are assured that their 'confession' will be forever secret. The rich and famous call that win-win.

Take, for example, Bill Cosby, who was accused, decades after the fact, of drugging dozens of young women unbeknown to them with a view to sexual intercourse (aka RAPE)! The majority of his accusers came forward after limitation statutes expired, thus excluding prospects of proving their allegations in court with corroborative evidence.

Despite Cosby's repeated but deliberately bare denials, courts of public opinion immediately convicted him. Only a stubborn few insisted on applying the presumption of innocence. When questioned about their delays, his accusers explained they were afraid of Cosby's power and influence which, I suppose, have waned over the years.

Many accusers admitted ongoing relationships with Cosby before and after he allegedly drugged and raped them, thus casting doubt on their bona fides. Recently, minuscule residual public sympathy for Cosby was almost 100 per cent erased when a judge unsealed a sworn deposition from a suit brought against him by one of his braver accusers. Mainstream United States media jumped all over the unsealed deposition, characterising it a 'confession' to the dastardly deeds. But the deposition includes no such confession.



Instead, it exposed a previously unknown Bill Cosby, namely, the misogynist whose unlimited disrespect for women, marital fidelity and personal accountability seemed unfettered by society's rules. It revealed that Cosby believed he was immune to societal restraint, as evidenced by his contemptibly cavalier approach.

But no confession of rape, drugging innocent women or the like appeared. Cosby said he wooed the plaintiff by "inviting her to my house, talking to her about personal situations dealing with her life, growth, education". He insinuated himself into her life, pretending to be a mentor when, all along, he only wanted sex. He described a long-term relationship known to the plaintiff's mother, who didn't approve. He agreed the relationship began deceitfully (gosh, surely no married man EVER did that before?), admitted, he took unfair advantage of his role as mentor, admitted, he successfully wormed his way into her affections (read: panties) after a sustained, calculated campaign, and admitted obtaining qaaludes to give to her for sexual purposes, but insisted, the drug-taking and sex were consensual. He admitted paying large sums to keep this and other dalliances secret from Camille.

So, Bill Cosby is a hypocrite, serial adulterer, and wealthy jet-setter willing to use every available tool (pun intended) to encourage as many women as possible to have consensual sex with him unbeknown to his wife. Obviously, he's an excellent candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Men like him are a dime a dozen, especially in entertainment. Also, women abound who throw themselves at these men to 'get ahead'. Ask Jack Nicholson; Wilt Chamberlain (boasted he slept with 20,000 women); David Duchovny; Magic Johnson; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen, who reputedly bedded 5,000.

Go ahead, call me names. See if I care. I've already been accused of having a problem with women because, God forbid, I joked about Diana Macaulay's knickers. Well, I confess to having a problem with women (and men) who take themselves too seriously.

In a world rendered colourless by political correctness' totalitarian rule, men can't joke about women, but women can allege all sorts of nastiness about men, while political correctness prevents any penetrating (OMG, there he goes again!) male enquiry in reply.

In Cosby's case, there's no need to analyse why he might've falsely confessed because he hasn't confessed. Is Cosby a rapist? I don't know. Is he still entitled to the presumption of innocence? Yes.

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.