So there we were in court. First time I’d been on a jury. Pretty serious case too. If it went against the defendant, he’d be facing the death penalty. So I suppose it was pretty serious for him too.
First up was the arresting officer. ‘Oh, yes,’ he said. ‘I have every faith this guy’s the culprit.’
‘How much faith?’ said the judge. ‘Is it real, deep-down, sincere faith?’
‘Oh, yes,’ said the cop. ‘Really unshakeable, supernatural faith. That’s him okay. We’re not looking for anyone else. Genuine conviction, you see.’
‘Yes, I do see,’ the judge said. ‘And very commendable it is too.’
‘But…’ spluttered the guy in the dock.
‘Wait your turn,’ the judge snapped. ‘We gotta hear the expert testimony before we get to you.’
The expert took the stand. ‘I believe it was this guy,’ he said, pointing to the man in the dock. ‘Yes sir, I’m sure it was. I have a really good feeling about it. This is him, definitely.’
‘You really, really truly believe?’ the judge asked and the expert nodded. ‘Well, that’s good enough for me,’ the judge said. ‘So… anybody got anything to add before I pass sentence?’
‘Er, yeah,’ said he guy in the dock. ‘What about the evidence?’
‘The evidence?’ said the judge. ‘Who needs evidence when we’ve got all this belief, faith and deeply held conviction?’
‘Well,’ the guy said, ‘far be it from me to say so, but isn’t the evidence important?’
‘Important?’ snorted the judge, resulting in guffaws all around the courtroom, including from my fellow jurors.
‘Yes,’ said the accused. ‘Important evidence like my watertight alibi. Like the DNA and finger prints that weren’t mine. Like the CCTV footage. Like… that other guy’s confession.’
‘Oh, come on,’ said his defence lawyer jumping up. ‘We’ve been over this. It means nothing. What’s really important is what people believe. Faith, like the officer here said.’
‘Well,’ said the guy in the dock, ‘I have my doubts about that.’
‘Oh, but doubt is of the devil,’ said his lawyer, ‘It’s faith that matters – faith and right belief.’
‘That hardly seems reasonable to me,’ said the man. ‘After all, it’s my life that’s on the line here.’
‘Now you’re just being absurd,’ said the judge. ‘What has reason got to do with anything?’
‘But I thought…’ began the accused, looking more perplexed than ever.
‘We’re none of us here to think,’ said the judge, ‘least of all you. How many more times must we tell you? Faith is all that matters.’
‘Well,’ said the defendant doubtfully, ‘if you say so…’
‘Great!’ said the judge, jumping in quickly. ‘I’m glad you’ve finally seen the light.’ Then he turned to us, the jury, and said: ‘I’m going to direct you to find the defendant guilty. The belief and faith of those here today is all we need to convict him.’
So we did, and the judge passed the death sentence. The condemned guy didn’t seem too pleased and as they led him away, started yammering all over again about evidence. I guess some people never learn. But I mean, faith, belief, conviction – call ’em what you will – they trump evidence any day.