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Case For The Defence

Counsel : First you must describe the person; second
you must say where he was, at what time;
third you will tell the Court what he said & did.
Witness : Most of the details slip my mind. He had black hair
& a big nose. I cannot remember how he was dressed,
or whether his eyes were black or brown, or how tall he was.
He was usually out in the countryside, miles
from his village. As for the place - it depends
which incident you particularly want to know about.
Counsel : Quite so. The prosecution will seek to show
that politically he was far out on the left,
that he was against the existing government,
that he was clearly a troublemaker & no doubt
a communist.
Witness : Until you mentioned it, this idea
never occurred to me. The man was obviously fond
of people & specially of children. In fact
he himself looked like a child & spoke like a child.
He liked to think he could say whatever he wished to say.
He frequently objected to what he described as
doublefaced   doubletalk.
Counsel : For example?
Witness : I refer to useless concern about the hierarchy :
about questions of order, status & appearance :
& particularly of wealth, superfluous wealth.
Counsel : You must be careful of several statements you might make.
Things that sound splendid to the proletariat
( and even to the jury ) are anathema to the government.
What was that story about the woman with five husbands?
Or of that adulterous bitch - should have been punished
instantly?
See that you avoid such accounts: & do not fall
into obvious traps they'll dig for you. The heart
is never superior - you must continually remind yourself –
to the requirements of the law.
Witness : When you say that, I realize
it's impossible to defend the man. I cut myself
in two : one half agrees with him, the other
denies practically everything he says. It's not me
in the dock; but I see that the police, the prosecution
( & presently the government itself ) will very soon
begin to have disagreeable thoughts & will arrange, .
when the dust settles, to see that my ideas are corrected.
Counsel : I'm glad you understand it as we understand it.
There's not the least need to incriminate anyone
or to create anxiety . . . Throughout the working days
in each week the defendant very properly sprang
to help his fellow citizens. Correctly described
his actions will be seen as admirable. Whatever else
he did or said must be ignored or forgotten.
Witness : Certainly! I agree that many of his deeds & sayings
were evidently illegal & irresponsible. I have already
diminished them or forgotten them.

 

 

Note

Some witnesses can remember photographically; I myself usually fail to notice the precise physical details necessary for identification.

I can see that even as a witness there is a danger in attempting to represent favourably this defendant's ideas & sayings.

No doubt some of them can be corrected. Probably it's best – more comfortable - to forget the rest.

(One of the witnesses says that this defendant went about villages preaching to the people & healing sickness & disease. Various witnesses declare that he called continually for a change of heart. )