Seamus' The Foundation of Guilt
My greetings to you, reader, and
hopes that you will find this work to be satisfactory and informative. Through a
month of research and much ponderings, I was able to compile the work you hold
within your hands. I pray you will find it of some use and note its potential
value in the hands of Law...
Within these pages, I intend to
demonstrate to you the similarities and differences between the court system
within Hold, Hall, and Weyr. Though quite similar in method and proceedings, it
is important that separate the 3 works into their own respective sections.
Seeing how a CraftMaster would not be required to read through the various
passages written on Hold and Weyr Law, I've broken them apart in the following
Chapters two and three deal primarily
with the Laws of the Holds. It attempts to explain what proceedings are used
when investigating a crime and how a Hold trial functions. Chapters four and
five deal with the gathering of evidence and the court processes of the Halls.
Chapters six and seven fall within the domain of the Weyr, pointing out what
forms of evidence are required for an investigation and what occurs within a
Weyr trial. Chapter eight demonstrates what additional responsibilities we
Harpers have. So, without further tedious reading, allow me to dismiss you from
my rantings and enter the wondrous world of Law...
When a crime has taken place within a
Hold, investigations are usually called into action to establish the likely
Naturally, the first step any Hold
Guard should take is to limit the flow of suspects and accused down to a bare
minimum. By asking even the simplest of questions, one can quickly narrow a
possibly large list of persons down to a likely few. Did the person in question
have a motive or reason for even attempting such a crime? Or could the accused
have a chance at performing such an act? By consulting the various witnesses,
one can easily establish the suspect's alibis, his or her motives and reasonings,
maybe even the likelihood of the suspect having done the crime.
Which leads to the next step, the actual questioning of the witnesses themselves. It is highly important to question any witness who had actually been present; afterall, an innocent person may be wrongly found to be guilty if proper measures are not taken. Once a statement has been taken from any or all likely witnesses, one should always verify the reliability of the witness' words. Was the witness ever convicted of crimes before? Has he or she been know to lie often? Naturally, rank plays an important factor with questioning. The words of a Lord Holder will undoubtedly carry more weight than that of a drudge, such is the benefits of rank...
The whole of the investigation is headed by the Guard Captain of the Hold in question. He or she will decide how much man-power can be spared in search of clues, evidence-gathering, and the questioning of witnesses. It is also possible that the Hold may involve exterior sources of information, such as animals. Though unreliable, animals may prove extremely helpful, especially if the animal in question had been present. Watchwhers, for example, may be able to identify an assailant or thief by scent alone, something that we, as humans, could not possibly do...
After all possible evidence has been
gathered, a trial may be called into being, often by the Guard Captain or the
Lord of the
Working along the lines that a trial has been called into existence, one now wonders what takes place within such a trial, how are the proceedings handled, what measures are taken to weigh the evidence and verify witness accounts. This chapter will attempt to answer those questions as thoroughly as possible. Unfortunately, not even the author has as extensive knowledge as necessary to cover everything.
At the formation of the trial, the
setting of time and place, the Holder of that particular area will act as Judge,
the person with a final say, so to speak. If the Holder is not available or not
willing to do so, the Hold's Steward may take the Holder's place.
Now, with the trial in session, the
suspect and witnesses debate the case formally. The suspect involved must
furnish his own proof and any witnesses he feels can verify his innocence.
Fortunately, most people are honest when dealing with legal procedures,
especially since perjury itself can have dire consequences. Armed with that
knowledge, the suspect is set to present his case. As the suspect accounts for
himself, witnesses provide their side of what happened, attempting to explain
what they saw or heard in attempts to find the suspect guilty. The burden of
proof is on the shoulders of the accusers, not attempting to make the trial
biased in any way, just trying to keep innocent persons from being wrongly found
After hearing all the sides possible
in this trial, the Holder is now free to find his decision. It resides purely on
Chapter 4 deals specifically with a
Halls methods of determining the guilt of a suspect. The difference between Hold
and Hall are minor but existant. How do the various Crafts go about and find the
possible criminal amount the innocent? In what way do the Crafts differ from
each other when it comes to legal processes? Most importantly, how are they
similar enough to each other to allow them to be grouped together under one
First off, the Craft in question will
narrow the list of suspects down to a select few. Questioning takes place during
When it comes to Craft questioning,
the witnesses are asked extensively about their experience during the crime in
Seeing how most CraftHalls are
located within or near a Hold of some sort, they usually have free use of the
Hold's detainment cells. A more secluded CraftHall might utilize a spare room as
a temporary prison. With the suspects locked safely away, they now go about
gathering evidence. This is a step where the Crafters attempt to further their
proof of motive and opportunity. Any physical types of evidence are taken and
alibis noted. At the start of the gathering, a CraftMaster or Second will most
likely assign Journeymen and Apprentices to go about looking for further
evidence. Other methods may be employed by the various Crafts, depending on what
Craft they represent. A Herder is far more likely to employ the aid of animals,
while the Dolphineers might look to their Dolphins for aid.
After all the evidence has been taken
that they might find useful, a trial is called into being. The suspect is taken,
When a trial has been called within a Hall, several steps are taken to insure the court proceeds in an ordered, workable fashion. One needs to remember that Hold and Hall are two separate concepts, two similar yet different ideas. Knowing how a Hold trial works is not going to insure the survival of one within a Hall. This chapter will make an attempt at explaining the differences...
Within the proceedings of the trial,
the accusers will try to establish the guilt of the accused. As with the Hold,
the burden of
The following two chapters concern
the methods and operations of a Weyr trial. Similar in structure to the
preceding ones, this text will make an attempt at showing how different a Weyr
trial can be. Weyrs can afford to be the most autonomous groups on the face of
Pern, seeing how they are integral to the survival of Pern and the glory
bestowed them by the ownership of Dragons...
Like any crime, a Weyr must stem the
flow of likely suspects filling their list. With the usual questioning of motive
As the evidence-gathering progresses,
the likely suspects are held within the Weyr's holding area. Looking for further
clues, the weyrfolk try to differentiate between the guilty and the innocent
before a trial is called. What other evidence is possible? What could take an
innocent person and set them free? When the entire process is begun, a Junior
Weyrwoman or a Wingsecond may be called upon to lead the investigation. It is
entirely up to them to decide how many weyrfolk and dragonriders may be used to
investigate this crime. As a high ranking rider, they have enough power to
command whatever is deemed necessary to further the investigation. A key that
dragonriders have over Hold and Hall are their Dragons. Dragons, with their
intelligence and the link they share with their riders, may prove very useful
within the search and potential witnesses. With their amazing ability to jump
between, they're able to search for the clues wherever hints will lead them...
As the evidence is slowly wrought together, a trial will be set into motion.
This is where the important areas lie, where the suspect
The statements that follow attempt to
describe what could happen within a trial held within the Weyr. As one reads
through the passages, questions will undoubtedly come to mind: Who leads the
trial? How important is the evidence that had been gathered? Hopefully, the
following section can answer the questions and quite a few others that may come
Soon after enough evidence has been
brought forth, a trial is called. Led by either the Senior Weyrwoman or the
Weyrleader, the court takes form as the ones within the Hold or Hall. With the
same responsibility as a Holder or CraftMaster, it is up to the individual to
find the guilt or innocence of the person in question. Presiding over the court
is no easy task, as either of the chosen individuals must also remember their
responsibility to Pern. Leading the trial, a Weyrleader has final say over the
verdict, only being appealed in the most dire of circumstances, when a Council
would be called into being. As previously mentioned, it is entirely up to the
individual that is standing trial to counter any of the arguments presented
against the suspect. Calling forth any evidence or witnesses possible to prove
his or her innocence, the suspect tries to discredit whatever words
So ends the trial of the Weyr, with the Weyrleader or the Senior Weyrwoman deciding the guilt or innocence of the accused. With the above work, maybe a guideline can be established. Perhaps the reader, being of a non-Weyr lineage, will find the reading both interesting and informative...
It needs to be noted that Harpers
serve a special role when it comes to trials. Harpers, by nature, are also
Judges and expert witnesses. When a disagreement is brought forth, be it in
Hold, Hall, or Weyr, a Harper may be called to act as judge or advisor to the
respective court. We serve as best we can...
It is also important to realize, while it is impossible for anyone to be unbiased and neutral, that a Harper at least set an example by making such a valiant effort. The mantles we bear within our great society is no easy task and should not be viewed as such. That's one reason why this work was done, so Harpers that are new to the Craft or not Law specialists can understand another facet of our needs. I hope it serves its purpose...
With all the words written above having been completed, I feel that anyone reading this work in its entirety will have a small grasp of what happens within the court systems of Hold, Hall, and Weyr. I have hopes you, the reader, will understand that this is only the beginnings of a much larger work, far from being complete...
I've taken you on a brief journey,
one that showed you the workings of our court system, Pern's court system. I've
demonstrated what takes place during an investigation, all within the Holds of
Pern, the multitudes of CraftHalls, and the secluded Weyrs. Read through this
work as often as needed, but remember to use the knowledge with as much
understanding you can find; it isn't so easy...
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