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Unravelling the paradox 
of guilty-innocence

Richard Easton considers whether the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings, enshrined in article 6.2, extends to protect individuals facing subsequent employment vetting

12 July 2016

What is the value of
an acquittal? Is it an endorsement of innocence or a lucky escape that leaves a stigma of suspicion of guilt? On 10 June the Court of Appeal sought
to unravel the paradox of guilty-innocence in The Queen (on the application of AR) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester [2016] EWCA Civ 490.

The appellant (AR) had, in January 2011, been found not guilty of raping a 17-year-old girl whom he had picked up as a fare when driving a taxi in 2009.

Two months after his acquittal, AR applied for a teaching post. Recorded on his enhanced criminal records certificate (ECRC) were the facts of the rape allegation. AR remonstrated
that the disclosure effectively required him to defend himself 'every time [he] appl[ied] for employment' despite the fact that he was 'an innocent man'.

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