At last, after forty-four days while millions of Germans held their breath, the Landgericht – the high court – in Mannheim has come to a decision: the hugely popular and engaging television weatherman, Jörg Kachelmann, is not guilty of raping at knife point one of his many ex-girlfriends.
The five judges on the bench did not say he didn’t do it. They said there was not sufficient evidence for saying he did it.
Kachelmann was arrested in March 2010 at the Frankfurt airport after returning from Vancouver where he had covered the Olympics for German television. He spent 132 days in custody before the hearings began. For this he will receive compensation.
The press had been barred from the courtroom when crucial testimony was heard.
No doubt the public, and the judges, would have preferred a clear verdict of guilty or not guilty. As things are, both the accused and the complainant will have to spend the rest of their lives under the suspicion that they had been lying in court.
In cases of doubt, wherever the rule of law prevails, the assumption of innocence must prevail as it has in this case.