Harry Potter was found guilty of obstructing justice on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
Severus Snape was acquitted of murdering Professor Albus Dumbledore. The final rulings were made by Clifford Rosky, professor of law at the S.J. Quinney Law School, who was acting as judge in the trial.
Professors from the College of Law brought Potter and Snape to trial Tuesday at noon in the Moot Courtroom as a mock trial demonstration for law students. The courtroom was decked out with Hogwarts crests representing Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin. Prefects representing each of the four houses also contributed to the verdict.
The room filled with law students who were eager to watch the magical hearing, which incorporated detailed evidence from the Harry Potter series. The event was a lighthearted departure from long hours of studying and reading court cases from the Muggle world.
Professors Carissa Hessick and Amy Wildermuth acted as prosecuting attorneys representing the Ministry of Magic to bring charges against Potter and Snape, respectively. Professors Lincoln Davies and Andy Hessick represented the defense.
Potter was accused of withholding information from the Ministry of Magic that would have been crucial to the fight against Lord Voldemort on two separate occasions, Christmas Day and July 31.
Wildermuth, who served as the prosecuting attorney against Potter, said the Ministry was “unable to effectively fight” Lord Voldemort because of Potter’s actions and that his excuses for not answering Ministry inquiries were “poor at best.”
Potter was also accused of lying to the Minister of Magic when his friend Ron Weasley inherited a Deluminator, a magical device resembling a cigarette lighter, from Dumbledore, an event that occurred in the seventh book of the series.
Ensuring the credibility of evidence presented in the case proved difficult, as records from the magical world tend to be more complex than standard Muggle accounts.
Snape’s defense attorney, Andy Hessick, justified the use of Snape’s own memories, which Potter saw through a magical memory viewer called a Pensieve, as a viable record, but some elements from the Harry Potter books were not seen as credible.
Davies defended the accusation of falsehood that was made against his client, Potter, by pointing out that Potter never acknowledged the lie.
“That was not the admission of my client, but the narrator of the book,” Davies said.
Hessick did not seek the death penalty against Potter, which Rosky deemed wise.
“Good luck killing him,” Rosky said.
Wildermuth, who represented the Ministry in the case against Snape, said his actions could not be justified by Dumbledore’s request to kill him and that there is no assisted suicide provision in the jurisdiction of the Wizengamot, the high court of the wizarding world, that heard the case yesterday.
“This is a court of law, and we live by the court of law,” Wildermuth said. “Without law, we have no order.”
Andy Hessick defended Snape’s actions and insisted that by killing Dumbledore with a Killing Curse, he spared him from being gruesomely murdered by Greyback, a werewolf who was present at the scene of death.
“It was an act of compassion to end Dumbledore’s life,” Hessick said.
In the end, the ruling rested with Rosky.
“After giving this matter great, great thought, I have decided that, you know, professors know best,” Rosky said. “The idea that a student would take the law into his own hands, I just cannot abide. I find Professor Snape not guilty and Mr. Potter guilty as charged.”