Savage Portland

On Courts and Justice

A man was brought to trial for several crimes, including the suspicion of murder in a small colony. None who testified saw this man actually kill anyone, and all only knew him by association with a new and ruthless gang of which the village had just been cleansed. One of the deceased was questioned, only to find that she did not know her attacker. The man would say nothing in his defense, save that he would fight back from beyond the grave at those who passed justice upon him.

Two arguments were made for how to try the man: in the colony under their own rule so as to get the matter settled quickly, or on the mainland so as to get the man a fairer trial than the settlers would divulge.

Is it wise to pass judgement on the man on the strength of his associations with an illicit group? When lacking direct evidence for a great crime, is not defending one’s innocence the same as admitting one’s guilt? Is it wise to sentence him more harshly than normal in order to not drain the resources of the village?

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