By Monday, mails and text messages from friends started to arrive. One texted a name of a family lawyer. I doubted a divorce lawyer might be useful.
Another texted from Paris, giving a name and advising to contact this friend through LinkedIn. This lawyer was living in Scandinavia.
One was unable to help straight away, as there had been heavy rainfall and the cellar of his partner’s home had flooded.
But he wondered what had happened to the basic corner stone of this country’s legal and justice system: presumed innocent till proven guilty.
Had that gone out of the window together with the laptop?
Moreover, there was nothing to connect me to the vanished laptop – provided it had disappeared.
Police had no clues, so they were intimidating people hoping to crack one and get a confession. How deep this country and its police had sunk.
Ever since fingerprints had to be handed in – and were stored in a database – to obtain the obligatory passport or ID-card here, I had known “innocent till proven guilty” had left this country.
In this country, everybody is now “guilty until proven innocent”.
A few others mailed, outraged at what had happened. What kind of third world dictatorship country was I living in? Who’d accused me? What proof was there? I was innocent, there was no proof, the case would be thrown out of court – provided someone was stupid enough to let it get that far. The case would collapse. And police knew this! They were wasting time and tax-payers’ money.
No idea who’d accused me and of what. I had not stolen the laptop, had not stolen the camera – but could not prove it.
One friend mailed and ordered me to vet the policeman. He sounded like a phoney and were those women playing a dirty trick on me? I should keep my cool. I had nothing to fear.
I did not think the policeman had been a phoney one: just a thug policeman.
A former colleague wondered if correct procedures had been followed. He urged me to launch a serious complaint, as no innocent witness could be treated like this in this country. Witnesses and even criminals had rights! This policeman had seriously misbehaved!
I felt sick, had not eaten nor slept properly for close to 48 hours now. Filing a complaint was not top of my list. How on earth was I going to be believed, if police had already concluded I must be guilty.
Another friend took a dim view of the whole handling of the theft: Kafkaesk. A week later and police had come no further than witness intimidation? It might have been an insurance scam.
I did not know about procedures nor about my rights. When I had been a witness of anything, police had always treated me kindly and decently and taken a witness statement at my home.
This was my reason for trusting the policeman, who had responded by intimidating, treatening, upsetting me Saturday evening. (See part 5)
I had never been anywhere near the laptop and had not even known about the camera! I was an innocent witness – and that was enough for police to bully, intimidate, threaten, accuse me.
From now on, I would never ever trust police again, nor speak to a policeman on my own.
People were right: they were no use and should not and could not be trusted.