Are 12 year olds innocent

Misjudgment: 7 years innocent in prison

Status: 08/22/12 2:08 p.m.

It is a spectacular individual case that shows like no other that judges and prosecutors are fallible: Herbert B. sat innocently in prison for more than seven years. A simple man who can neither read nor write. Now the 72-year-old has been acquitted in a retrial, "retrospectively" so to speak.

In 2004, his daughter accused him of raping her several times. There is a trial at the Halle district court, in which the 21-year-old portrays herself as the victim of a constantly drunk father - accompanied by her doctors, who certify that she was severely traumatized by the alleged rape. The case seems clear to the court, although the other family members are all testifying in favor of the father. It relies on its own expertise, dispenses with a psychological assessment of the girl and sentenced Herbert B. to ten years in prison.

A mistake with serious consequences: It becomes clear at the latest when the daughter accuses other men and the accusations become more and more absurd. Only now does the public prosecutor's office have the woman examined. The result: the psychologist suspects a personality disorder and does not consider it credible. In his report from 2009, Prof. Max Steller states that, in his opinion, this must also have an inevitable impact on the trial against the father. But nothing happens. Herbert B. remains in custody.

It will be another two long years before criminal defense attorney Johann Schwenn becomes aware of the case and requests the retrial. With success: Herbert B. has now been acquitted by the Magdeburg Regional Court. In the opinion of the court, the alleged acts never occurred. Herbert B. was innocent in prison for seven and a half years. And what do the "guilty" say - the judges and the public prosecutor? In summary, you can put it this way: At the respective point in time you did everything right. Panorama about a particularly drastic miscarriage of justice in which those responsible are obviously ducking away.