"We should give him a fair trial" is a silencing tactic in which it is argued that a harasser or abuser cannot be excluded from a community without legalistic due process being set up by that community, for example:
- a criminal trial-like proceeding
- the right to challenge witness statements
- an appeals process
This is in contrast to systems like the Responding to harassment reports process on this wiki, where community leaders such as event organisers are empowered to exclude someone from the community based on an internal decision making process.
The problems with a due process or fair trial model were outlined by English barrister and conrunner major_clanger on Dreamwidth. Due process is a very heavyweight model with numerous checks and balances to stop the nation-state misusing its power, and has indifferent outcomes for victims of sexual assault and harassment in particular. It would in practice be divisive, time consuming, and lead to essentially no harassers or abusers being excluded from geek communities.
- The response to Jim Frenkel attending WisCon 38 appeared to be attempting a due process model.
- Innocent until proven guilty is a related argument in which it is argued an accused harasser or abuser should be convicted by the actual legal system (not a within-community imitation of it) before being censured or excluded, which shares many problems with this model.