Laptop thefts 12: innocent witness, treated as suspect

While the gaffer paid off his 2012 fine (see part 11), Saturday’s thug arrived (see part 5). Late of course, expecting me to shake hands, bleating he was bitterly disappointed I refused. It never was and never will be my custom, to shake hands with a policeman who used pressure to make me confess to something I was and am totally innocent of.

Instead, I started to complain loudly about Saturday evening. After all: now I had the gaffer and his uniformed lackeys as witnesses. So thug told me to shut up. He warned a colleague and walked me to interview room 2.

He was not interviewing me as an innocent witness, but as a suspect. He wanted to be able to use the statement against me. According to him, me shutting windows so window cleaners were able to do their job and sewing innocently in my room on my own, was highly suspect behaviour. (See part 1) A few sneers about no lawyer being present followed.

Friends and acquaintances had advised me to stick to a mantra and use my right to remain silent. Quite a few had a legal background; some working for national courts, others for international ones, or Interpol and such. They deemed thug incompetent and unprofessional. So it was mantra unless charged, accused, arrested. In that case, my situation not only changed: I would be entitled to free legal aid. They had also told me to try find out who actually accused me.

So I responded to each question with the mantra or a variation: “I have nothing to do with any laptop and/or camera theft. I am not involved in anything. I am totally innocent. I have the right to remain silent”.

I learned who accused me: the victim. I also learned, thug had not bothered to check if there had been an earlier camera thefts from the same person, the same room, involving other window cleaners – or whoever the victim had accused at that time. Provided she had reported that earlier theft of which I had some vague recollection. (See part 6).

I didn’t know whom or what to believe. Both victim and police thug had lied to me before. I only knew I was totally innocent. But if she was now accusing me whereas I was innocent, I might have a case against her. For making false accusations against someone, or slander a person, is illegal.

Thug decided to just copy and paste my mantra to his questions.
He continued with his usual intimidation.
Questions ranged from what time I leave the house, how late I return, to a few actually related to the case of the missing laptop – and camera. (See part 3)

After about 30 minutes, thug had had enough. He claimed I had blown my chances.
He speculated the prosecutor was going to take a dim view of my behaviour.
Fuming I said: “So what?”
This nettled thug.
However, friends had already told me, it was unlikely things would get that far. There was no proof, I was an innocent witness, any prosecutor would throw the case out.
I had totally had it with being treated like the accused, while being totally innocent.

Thug pushed a button and left the room to collect the printed statement.
Ah – even his computer, the printer, the software had had enough.
Something went wrong and thug had to reprint.
He left the room again, came back, and shoved the paperwork towards me ordering to read and sign it.

I got my own pen and … noticed my answer to his 2nd question was already wrong.
So as a teacher, I routinely struck a fat line through it.

Thug went bananas.
According to him, one is not allowed to scratch through a statement – even if it contains faulty or fibbed police answers.
Thug left to collect a third print from the printer.
I know it’s childish, but I suspected everything in the room was being recorded – though I had not given any permission.
But if I’m right, my rude middle finger gesture is on record.

The new print was shoved my way. By then, I had asked for a copy of my statement, but been told I could not have one, as only lawyers were allowed access to statements.
So I had notebook and pen ready and started writing.

Thug went berserk! According to him, copying out a whole statement was illegal.
I was not interested in copying out three A-4 pages full of my mantra.
I jotted down the unique data above my statement, so a lawyer might lift my statement even faster out of the system, if necessary.

On rereading the statement, I noticed my mantra had been copied correctly about 12 times out of 14. Not wanting to risk being molested by thug, I signed anyway.
In case I was charged, arrested, held – using this statement – I would automatically get free legal aid. Then I could talk things over with a lawyer and retract any earlier statements, jog my memory, add, change – whatever.

Of course, my signature was at the top of the otherwise empty third page. Or as I had been told by former colleagues: so lots of fancy things might happen to a statement. Like for example: pages being added, pages being removed.
With hindsight, I should have signed not only the third, but also the first and second page and included the page numbers in my signature on each single page.

Regardless: thug continued stating I was discrediting my case. What case?
I was an innocent witness and his case was based on false accusations by the victim and police.
So I whined if he was going to hold me, charge me, arrest me – so I could get free legal aid and if not: I was free to go. Grabbing my bags, I went for the door …

WRONG! Thug had kept the best bit for the last: he said the last step of any interview was fingerprints and a mug shot.

WRONG! I had accidentally checked this and been told police had no legal right whatsoever to ask for fingerprints, DNA, mug shot – whatever – of me.

So I flatly refused and stalked out of the room with thug sputtering and trying to intimidate and terrorise me some more: it was not the last I had seen of him, I blew my chance to cooperate, now police would get my prints and pic whenever it suited them.

So by using my legal rights as an innocent witness, by not caving in under threats, by not incriminating myself, by not getting myself arrested for what might have been a theft or a scam done by someone else … I had ensured I would be in for more harassment and pestering by police.

When I stalked past the counter, the gaffer had long left.
I sincerely prayed, Gaffer had laundered money and had had the last laugh.