OVER THE DICHOTOMY encapsulated in the formulation, “Better a thousand guilty men go free than a single innocent be punished.” Or variations.
Yes, I am on all fours with the notion that permitting the punishment of putative wrongdoers on any but certainty stands at the top of a very slippery slope, at the bottom of which is arbitrary and capricious administration of “justice,” which is no justice at all, but oppression.
On the other hand, to set even one guilty man free represents justice denied to the victim(s), and increases the probability of there being more victims at this guilty man’s hands in the near future.
On the third hand, I can’t really see where punishing the wrong man for a crime is really very just at all.
For those who rail at technicalities, I’d remind you that the purpose of the technicalities is to ensure that evidence and testimony are untained and therefore (presumably) trustworthy. Punishment on false evidence of — like as not — the wrong man… isn’t this where we came in?
I can’t really see a single, right and easy path.