Right of Conquest
For Every Punishment There is a Crime
Harry stood before the Wizengamot panel… alone. Fudge had definitely stacked the deck in his favour, but then Harry had suspected it was going to be a set-up when he had heard about the last minute time and location change. Fudge wanted him gone because he was insisting that Voldemort was back and that was something the foolish man did not even want to contemplate let alone deal with.
All the members of the Wizengamot who were present gave Harry the impression of a pack of very hungry wolves eager to taste blood. The sole exception appeared to be the grey haired lady wearing a monocle, who had been identified as Madame Bones, the head of the DMLE. While she looked like she might be neutral waiting on the facts before rendering any decision, he had less confidence in the rest of the Wizengamot members present. Harry was fairly certain that most if not all of the remaining members of the panel had either been bribed or possibly blackmailed to vote the way Fudge wanted. Of course there would also be those who wanted to be able to brag that they had dealt with the attention-seeking brat Harry Potter and ensured he would no longer pose a threat to the safety of the wizarding world. Or if the Wizengamot member happened to be a Deatheater they would want to ensure he would not pose a threat to Voldemort's return to power.
His suspicion that Fudge was going to ensure he got the same version of justice Sirius had was confirmed a few moments after he had gotten into Courtroom 10. Fudge had ordered the Auror on duty to seal the doors, stating it was a closed hearing and they did not want the press disrupting it. That proved quite clearly the Minister intended for him to be expelled no matter what the facts were. Harry was also fairly certain that the Minister was trying to put an air of legality on his actions, since he would have to tell the press at some point why the attention-seeking brat Harry Potter had been expelled from Hogwarts for under-aged magic and why he had had to involve the Wizengamot in what was normally the Dept. of Magical Education’s area of responsibility. And knowing how Fudge liked to pretend his actions were never his fault Harry was fairly sure that his involving the Wizengamot was an attempt to cover himself, because he would be able to spread the blame if things blew up in his face later.
As the trial commenced, Harry did his best to remain silent and keep a bland expression on his face as he listened to the Minister waffle on about his supposed crime of under-aged magic when he had protected himself and his cousin from Dementors. He had been very quick to pick up on the fact that no matter what he said or did he was going to be expelled by the end of this hearing. He could also tell that Fudge and the woman with the pink bow in her hair, who for some reason made him think of a cross between Aunt Marge's dog Ripper and a toad, were trying to provoke him so they would be proven right and that he did think he was above the law, so he decided his best course of action would be to do the same thing to the Wizengamot that he did to the Dursleys. Stay silent, keep your expression bland, and do not respond no matter what the provocation. It never kept him from getting punished, but it was his only way of getting back at his relatives because it frustrated them no end when he failed to react to their jibes. Harry knew his lack of reaction was the probably going to be the only satisfaction he would have out of this farce of a trial as well.
Once he had finished reading the charges, Fudge asked the first question in this joke of a trial that he was conducting. "You are Harry James Potter of Number Four Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey?"
"Yes." While Harry's voice was neutral, he could not help thinking: Can you be any dumber Fudge? Why not just take out a full-page advertisement in the Daily Prophet and announce my relative's address to the entire magical world? Great way to ensure the Deatheaters and Voldemort will be able to find me easily. I wonder if Dumbledore will care or if he will just shrug it off and claim once more that I am perfectly safe at the Dursleys?
"You received an official warning from the Ministry for using illegal magic three years ago, did you not?" Fudge asked next.
"No," Harry told him. After all he had not done the magic so the letter should not have been addressed to him. He had always wondered why they never investigated, instead of just assuming it had to be him.
Fudge sputtered for a moment looking at Harry in disbelief, before saying, "Your file in the Department of Magical Education shows that you were sent a warning for doing under-aged magic outside of school before your second year in spite being advised by Hogwarts faculty that you were not allowed to do any magic outside of school until you were of age."
Harry gave him a level look. "You asked if I received a warning for doing illegal magic three years ago and I did not. You never asked if I received a warning letter because someone else…"
Madame Umbridge's grating voice interrupted at this point. "Hem, hem,... Mister Potter, you are trying the patience of this court with your lies. The Ministry knows full well that there are no witches or wizards living anywhere near your residence and therefore you are lying about your use of magic around Muggles. Scribe Weasley please add the charge of lying to this court to the charges against Mr. Potter."
Harry shrugged. "I have not lied in anything I have said so far, but just like with that letter you assume that I am."
Madame Umbridge bristled. "Potter, it is quite clear that your fame and worshipping fans have gone to your head so that you think that the laws the rest of the magical Britain has to follow do not apply to you but this court is not blinded by such things as your fame. The Ministry and this Court operate on facts and it is a well-known fact that you are the only wizard who lives in Little Whinging, Surrey. This court does not appreciate you wasting our valuable time by telling even more lies and thinking that we will believe them just because of your fame."
Harry looked over the Wizengamot panel before saying. "So I am the only wizard in the whole of magical Britain. Strange I thought there were more of us. However Madame since you claim that you operate on facts can you say with certainty you know where every witch and wizard was in magical Britain every moment of the day during the summer before my second year? How do you know that a witch or wizard did not pass near my home and do some magic and you just assumed it was me because I live there?"
Before Umbridge could say anything, Madame Bones asked, "You claim you are not lying and that you did not do any magic over the summer before your second year at Hogwarts so who did do it?"
Harry was not about to betray Dobby. "How should I know? No one ever bothered to investigate to see what actually happened, they just assumed because I live in the area it had to be me. They could have checked my wand before I returned to school and learned that the last spell that was cast with it was the one to pack my trunk before I left Hogwarts at the end of my first year."
Fudge interrupted before Bones could ask another question, "This has nothing to do with the matter at hand. Potter admits to receiving the letter and never disputed it at the time so the charge in his record stands. In his third year I had to help cover up his inflating his Uncle's sister like a muggle balloon. I thought he had learned his lesson, but apparently not. What this court must decide now is what to do with Mr. Potter, given the fact that he continues to violate our laws by practicing magic in front of muggles. He shows no respect for our laws nor does he show any concern over the fact that he is exposing us to the muggles and sooner or later he may do something we can not cover up."
A wizard in a purple robe who had been identified as Smithy when the panel members were being named at the start of this farce then spoke up asking Harry, "Mr. Potter, why did you cast the Patronus charm in a muggle populated area on August 2nd of this year, in total defiance of our laws? And before you deny doing it, we asked the guard to have a priori incatum spell done on your wand and the last spell showing on the record from the guard desk at the entrance to the Ministry that you came through that shows that was the spell cast."
"I do not deny casting the Patronus charm," Harry told them. "It was the only thing I could do to try and keep my cousin and I alive."
"And just what was so threatening that you had to cast a very noticeable spell in an area full of muggles?" Umbridge demanded in a simpering tone. "After all there is nothing dangerous in Surrey."
Even knowing they were not going to believe him, Harry told them. "There was that night. There were Dementors coming after my cousin and I."
"Dementors!" Bones seemed surprised. "What are you talking about?"
"There were two Dementors coming after my cousin and I." Harry repeated.
"Ah yes," Fudge smirked as if Christmas had come early for him. "I thought you might say something like that. Very convenient… naming the one thing that Muggles cannot see. Therefore you have no witnesses to back up your claim. Not to mention that all Dementors in Britain are under Ministry control and there are none unaccounted for, so they could not have been anywhere near your home." He paused for a moment, before continuing. "If you have nothing else to say, it is time for the Wizengamot to render its judgement. All in favour of declaring Mr. Potter guilty of the charge of under-aged magic and almost revealing our existence to the muggles raise your hand."
As Harry expected the majority of hands rose.
Percy did a quick hand count, before indicating they could lower their hands.
"Those in favour of declaring Mr. Potter not guilty because he claims it was done in self defence." Madame Bones spoke up next.
Only four hands rose and Harry was surprised at the three that rose in addition to Madame Bones. He could not help wondering why.
Once the final tally was announced Fudge's face took on an even smugger expression. "Hand your wand to the Auror, Mr. Potter."
Harry did so reluctantly.
The auror then handed it to Fudge who took great pleasure in holding it between his hands and snapping it with a sharp crack.
"You are officially expelled from Hogwarts as of this moment, Mr. Potter." Fudge sounded positively gleeful. "You are not allowed to be in possession of a wand at any time. If you are caught with a wand anywhere within Magical Britain it will be a mandatory two year sentence in Azkaban."
Harry nodded his understanding and then said quietly. "One day the truth will come out Fudge and you will not be able to cover it up. And when that day comes may you and all who sided with you in keeping their heads in the sand reap what they have sown."
A few minutes after Fudge ordered the Auror on duty to escort Mr. Potter out of the Ministry, he had the doors unsealed and Dumbledore stormed in.
"I have a witness to speak on Mr. Potter's behalf." Dumbledore spoke up not noticing at first that Harry was not in the room.
"You are too late Dumbledore. The trial has already been concluded." Fudge told him smugly. "Mr. Potter is no longer your concern as he is no longer a student at Hogwarts, having been expelled for violating the restrictions regarding under-aged sorcery and his wand has been snapped."
Dumbledore’s face never revealed just how angry he was over what Fudge had done. "Well I would have been here on time with a witness to back up Mr. Potter’s claim that there were Dementors near his home, if I had received my notification of the time change in time as required by the Charter. "
“Are you accusing the Wizengamot of acting illegally?” Umbridge demanded in a grating voice.
“Whoever sent out the notifications is the only one who knows that, but the charter states quite clearly that any changes in the start time must be done in a timely manner and that all participants must acknowledge receipt of the time change. I was after all listed on the record for the hearing as Mr. Potter’s chosen defender. I also find it strange that what should have been a simple hearing in front of three member panel in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was moved to a Courtroom with what looks like about two-thirds of the Wizengamot sitting in judgement. I would have thought the Wizengamot had far more serious crimes to worry about than a charge of under-aged magic.”
"Mr. Potter’s crimes were determined to be severe enough to require the majority of the Wizengamot to sit in judgement of them, Dumbledore." Umbridge told him pompously.
"Actually Madame Umbridge, that is where you are wrong," Dumbledore contradicted her assertion. "No child has ever been tried before the Wizengamot for any crime. Trials before the Wizengamot are only for adults and then only for major crimes."
"Mr. Potter's repeated offences when he was out of school showed that he had little if no respect for the law. He needed to be shown that no matter what his fame was he was not above the laws governing and protecting the magical world." Fudge countered. " And that is not even taking into account his claims and yours that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back. Those were threatening to destabilise the magical world.”
"The Wizengamot can not sit in judgement of prior crimes by law. Whether or not he previously violated the law it had been dealt with in the prescribed manner. The only charge facing Mr. Potter was a charge of under-aged magic regarding the Patronus charm that he cast on August 2nd and whether or not he was exempt from that charge under Clause Seven due to the presence of Dementors." Dumbledore countered. "And Clause Seven has exonerated young witches and wizards in the past when there has been proof that they were acting in defence of their own life."
"Oh surely, even you do not believe Potter's claim that there were Dementors in the area, do you Dumbledore?" Umbridge demanded in a grating voice.
"That is why I brought Mrs. Figg to the hearing." Dumbledore told her. "She was to be a witness on his behalf that Dementors were indeed in the area where Mr. Potter lives on August 2nd. Mr. Potter was to be allowed witnesses to his actions under the Wizengamot Charter of Rights."
“And what kind of witness was this muggle supposed to be?” Umbridge asked with a smirk on her face. “It is a well known fact that muggles can not see Dementors, Dumbledore, so why are you trying to help Mr. Potter continue to perpetrate his fraudulent claim?”
“Mrs. Figg is not a Muggle.” Dumbledore’s words wiped the smirk off her face and caused Fudge to pale slightly. “She is a Squib who lives in the area. She contacted a mutual friend of mine when the Dementors showed up in Little Whinging because she thought they might have gone rogue. Not that it matters now given that all members of this panel whether they intended to or not declared Mr. Potter an adult the moment this trial began.”
Fudge and Umbridge looked at each other for a moment before Fudge waved off the concern. "It does not matter," he told Dumbledore. "The judgement of the Wizengamot was made with the best interest of magical Britain in mind. Mr. Potter's wand has been snapped and he has been banned from having one in his possession from this day forth, which means he will not be able to do any magic or be a threat to the stability of our world, whether he is an adult or not."
Dumbledore's eyes lost their twinkle as he calmly told Fudge. "Cornelius, you are missing the point. You and everyone who voted to convict Mr. Potter violated the magically binding oath you took to uphold the laws of magic and to judge each case fairly and solely on the evidence.”
“No we did not!” Fudge protested. “Mr. Potter was guilty of under-aged magic and the penalty was to have his wand snapped which was done.”
Dumbledore sighed, and said slowly and very clearly as if speaking to a small child. “If by Law, since he was being tried by the majority of the Wizengamot, Mr. Potter was considered an adult by those trying him then he could not be guilty of under-aged magic, because he was no longer under-aged. If I were you Cornelius, I would be very worried that Magic might demand some kind of penalty from you all, for what you have done. You might lose your magic over this. I hope you are prepared for that."
Fudge’s face had gone pale for a moment then regained its normal colour. “You are wrong, Dumbledore, we did not violate our oaths. Potter was judged fairly and he was guilty.”
“If you say so, Cornelius,” Dumbledore took the elderly woman who was wearing house slippers gently by the arm and turned to leave. "I will leave you with one name to think about… Abraxas Malfoy.”
“What is he talking about?” One of the newer members of the Wizengamot panel Edwin Durphy wanted to know. He had been one of those to vote for Harry Potter’s guilt. “Abraxas Malfoy went insane and supposedly the victim of a hereditary illness wasn’t he?”
After several minutes passed with no one else answering Durphy’s question, Madame Bone finally spoke up. “Abraxas Malfoy was on the Wizengamot up until about thirty years or so ago. Some say that because of his quest to eliminate Charlus Potter’s father, he violated his oath about sixty years ago when he had been the deciding vote that declared Demetrius guilty of using the Killing Curse to murder Andre LeBeau the Magical French Ambassador just before the start of the war with Grindelwald and what the Muggles call World War 2. According to the rumours floating about at the time he knew Charlus’ father Demetrius was innocent. Abraxas started going a little insane shortly afterwards remember, Justin? It was only after Demetrius was Kissed that the evidence came out that he could not have committed the murder he was accused of. Abraxas Malfoy went completely mad once that evidence came to light. Odd that Lucius’ father showed no signs of madness before that ruling is it not? Some said it was Magic taking her vengeance for violating his oath.”
The courtroom was very silent after that.