In my novel, Courting Danger, the question of ‘innocent until proved guilty’ is the basis of Stefan’s defence.
And while it may seem a cut-and-dried case, his spin of the actual events does give rise to reasonable doubt. Even in a court of law, innocence can be a subjective topic. Determining the charges against a criminal – from murder to manslaughter, from arson to negligence, from assault to self-defence – calls for a judgement on both culpability and intent. It’s never as easy as it seems (apart from being caught red-handed or trapped by your DNA) Whenever it’s case of one person’s word against another’s, then there will be doubt, and an opportunity to spin the facts, as only a politician knows how – well, and a convincing liar!
As soon as a person – or creature – is hurt, whether it be emotionally or physically, then an element of self-defence enters the reckoning. It is how we then react that determines the extent of our guilt – or indeed, our innocence.
Applying this statement to his background, even Stefan has been hurt. Badly so. In fact, it is this hurt that drives him to seek revenge. Had he not been damaged in this way, would he have followed the same path?
Then again, can we excuse our misconduct on our pasts, on how we’ve been treated by others?
Of course not. But, it makes you think.
Still, as my mom would say “if ifs and ands were pots and pans, there’d be no work for tinkers’ hands.” 🙂