Person of Interest

Person of Interest

For someone hearing this term for the first time, you would think it is an honor for people especially a court proceeding to have an interest in you. Well, a person of interest has a completely different meaning! A person of interest refers to someone who law enforcers may be too keen on when carrying out their investigations.

Origin of the term
The phrase “person of interest” was coined by the police to describe Richard A. Jewell who was suspected to have had involvement in the Atlanta Olympics bombing.

How does a person become interesting?
1. If s/he has information that aids in the investigation.
2. If s/he is suspected to be involved in the crime and further investigation is called for.
3. Where an individual is working with the law enforcers to collect evidence of a crime committed.

What is the difference between a person of interest and a suspect?
A person of interest is not defined although it is interchangeably used with the suspect. However, the term suspect is too precise. A person of interest can be innocent and just cooperate with the investigations. A suspect is already awaiting trial, and there is evidence incriminating them, but for a person of interest, it is mainly an intuition by either the police or the prosecutor. The term has not been formally defined in any legal manuscript and is mostly used by police and prosecutors.

Targeted surveillance
It refers to the type of surveillance observed on a particular person of interest. This can include tapping an individual’s phone and laptop to monitor activities.

This kind of surveillance can be extrusive or intrusive depending on the trustworthiness of the person in question. Intrusive surveillance involves close and detailed tracking of a person’s activities such as placing bugs in their car.
Extrusive surveillance is whereby a person is observed from a distance, for example through cameras.

Any consequences?
A person is innocent until proven guilty. It does not matter if all the evidence points to them, they remain innocent unless they acknowledge being guilty of the offenses they are charged with. The media have often described a person of interest as guilty until proven innocent.

The media puts up a trial on the person with the public as the jury. Even if someone is proven innocent, the public already as its verdict. A person’s reputation is destroyed.

It is therefore advisable to seek legal assistance when one is identified as a person of interest before things get too serious…

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