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As in, that criminal got off scot-free despite a mountain of evidence that would seem to indicate his guilt.

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From the entry for scot:

O.E. scotfreo "exempt from royal tax," from scot "royal tax," from O.N. skot "contribution, reckoning, shot" + freo (see free). Related to O.E. sceotan "to pay, contribute," Du. schot, Ger. Schoß "tax, contribution" (see shot). O.Fr. escot (Fr. écot) "share" is a Germanic loan-word.

You see this remnant also in the phrase "scot and lot."

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