Comments welcomed. Wish me luck, that I get picked to speak on Snape's behalf at the trial!
Accio Grand Jury
Statement in Defence of Severus Snape
By Mrs. Gina R Snape
Dear ladies and gentlemen of the jury,
I hereby submit this statement in defence of my husband, Severus Snape. I shall address each charge as directed. I thank you for considering my testimonial. I would like to start by pointing out that it is easy to pick on Severus Snape. He’s been variously described as an “overgrown bat” who “seems the type” to want to kill (PS, p. 208). With his greasy hair, sallow complexion and hooked nose, he does not possess the kind of conventional good looks which often sway people who judge by appearance alone and according to mainstream tastes. His penchant for sarcasm further alienates him from those lacking the predisposition for appreciating his wit. These characteristics are not, however, crimes. Severus is persistently picked on and unceremoniously reviled by his detractors, who do not give him credit where credit is due. I therefore beg of you to judge Severus Snape solely upon his actions as they measure up to wizarding laws as defined in the five Harry Potter novels to date, and not on the looks and personality which some find displeasing. My husband may not seem a nice man, but I dare say he is a good and brave man.
Charge #1: That the accused did, feloniously, treasonously and with malice aforethought, combine with others to support the most bloody, abominable and beastly cause of the notorious, prescribed and avowed traitor Tom Marvolo Riddle, sometime called Lord Voldemort.
Charge #2: That the accused did, feloniously, treasonously and with malice aforethought, voluntarily accept membership within a prescribed and illegal organization, vulgarly termed "the Death Eaters";
I submit that Severus Snape did combine with others in his youth to support the Dark Lord Voldemort for reasons known only to him, as can be evidenced by the dark mark brandished upon his arm. However, as there is no evidence that merely combining with others in support of Lord Voldemort is an act of treason, this cannot serve as a valid criminal offense, treasonous or otherwise. I give by way of example two trials in GoF, chapter “The Pensieve.” Firstly, Ludo Bagman was brought to the council to answer charges “relating to the activities of the Death Eaters” (p. 514). Secondly, Bellatrix LeStrange, et al. were brought before the Council of Magical Law accused of “capturing an Auror—Frank Longbottom—and subjecting him to the Cruciatus curse…[and further] accused of using the Cruciatus curse on Frank Longbottom’s wife.” (p. 516-517). In both cases, although the Ministry sought to track down all of Voldemort’s supporters, in a court of law the death eaters (or accused) were prosecuted for specific crimes of activity. There was no charge against them for serving the Dark Lord or declaring allegiance to him. The charges were about the crimes they committed for the Dark Lord not for loyalty to the Dark Lord himself. Since they were not charged with joining the Death Eaters, nor should Snape be charged as it is not a documented criminal offense.
Further, I submit there is no proof of malice aforethought in why the young Severus combined with them. While Severus’ childhood enemy Sirius Black stated, “Snape’s always been fascinated by the Dark Arts” (GoF, chapter Padfoot Returns, p.460-461), there is never any indication that his interest is more than academic. Severus Snape has never been seen using dark magic in the entire series to date.
We further learned from Sirius Black that Snape was “part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly all turned out to be Death Eaters” (p. 461). We may infer from this that an element of peer pressure and/or protection from others may have been at play, and thus Severus Snape’s membership with the Death Eaters may not have been entirely voluntary. Snape’s childhood is one marked by traumatic events which predispose children to give into peer pressure. If we may presume that Harry saw Snape’s on memories via legilimency, we know young Severus witnessed domestic violence (OOTP, Chapter Occlumency) “a hook-nosed man was shouting at a cowering woman, while a small dark-haired boy cried in a corner” (p 521); fell victim at school to peer ridicule: “a girl was laughing as a scrawny boy tried to mount a bucking broomstick” p. 522); and was so accustomed to peer abuse that when mockingly referred to as “Snivellus” by James Potter he “reacted so fast it was as though he had been expecting an attack.” (OOTP, Chapter ‘Snape’s Worst Memory, p. 569). He may have been seeking protection and a sense of belonging and respect, as many young urban muggle boys do when they join a gang. But I retain that, in the absence of words directly from his mouth, no one in this court can positively attest that he voluntarily joined with the express purpose of malice.
Charge #3: That the accused, feloniously, treasonously and with malice aforethought, continues as a member in the said illegal organization.
In GoF, Chapter ‘The Pensieve’ p. 513, Albus Dumbledore states he has “given evidence already on this matter…Severus Snape was indeed a Death Eater. However, he rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort’s downfall and turned spy for us, at great personal risk. He is now no more a Death Eater than I am.” Severus Snape should not be made to stand trial for said non-crimes. He should be heroically lauded for putting himself at great personal risk in leaving the Death Eaters! Dumbledore spoke on his behalf, and in the absence of further evidence, these first three charges are nothing more than an act of malicious cauldron-stirring rumour-mongering and an attempt at double jeopardy (trying someone twice for the same crime—or in this case pseudo-crime), which at the very least is not allowable in British muggle law.
Further proof can be found in Severus Snape’s actions specifically in the protection of Harry Potter. Snape does something to save Harry Potter in every book thus far. Of the many examples available, in the interest of brevity I offer four proofs of his allegiance to Dumbledore and his interest in protecting Harry and preparing him for battle against the Dark Lord Voldemort:
1. In The Philosopher’s Stone, Quirrell informs Harry that Snape had been “muttering a counter-curse, trying to save [him]” during a quidditch match (p. 208).
2. He also volunteered to referee the following quidditch match in order to provide more active supervision of Harry’s safety (p. 208)
3. In the Chamber of Secrets, he makes a point of teaching Expelliarmus (chapter The Duelling Club, p. 142), which directly serves to assist in saving Harry Potter’s life in GoF (chapter Priori Incantatum, p. 575) as Harry explained in a DA meeting (OOTP, Chapter Dumbledore’s Army, p. 348). Snape may not have been aware of the particular circumstances to come, but he knew enough about battle to be sure Harry was prepared with this vital defensive spell.
4. In Goblet of Fire, Chapter Veritaserum, Snape appears steadily and persistently in the Foe Glass of Barty Crouch Jr., proof that a magical item found him in alliance with Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall (p. 589 and 593).
Charge #4: That the accused has on divers occasions and under the guise of lawful chastisement committed assault and battery on minors in respect of whom he was in loco parentis, such assault and battery being occasioned by divers magical and physical means, and resulting in perceptible physical and psychological harm to the said minors.
Assault and battery is a heavy charge, and is defined by http://www.dictionary.co.uk as “a threat to attack someone followed by a violent physical act.” I think you will find, however, that while Severus Snape has on some occasions used an intimidating suggestion to motivate the children, he has never actually committing a violent physical act. In fact, on one occasion he prevented the physical harm of one Neville Longbottom at the hands of the Slytherin boy Crabbe by instructing him to loosen his hold (OOP, Chapter ‘Out of the Fire’ p. 657).
Nor has he used magic to inflict perceptible physical or psychological harm. In every instance of so-called threat, Snape employs a teaching tool to motivate the children to do better in their schoolwork. For example, in PoA, Chapter ‘The Boggart in the Wardrobe’ Snape teaches the children to brew a shrinking potion. To motivate Neville, he threatens to give some of Neville’s potion to his toad Trevor. But Snape had an antidote handy to restore Trevor once he turned into a tadpole (p. 97).
However, the one time Snape does resort to laying a hand on a student was after Harry grossly violated his privacy by watching a memory left in Snape’s pensieve (OOTP, Chapter ‘Snape’s Worst Memory’). Even then, we can see that Snape was not out to hurt Harry so much as prevent himself from doing real harm to Harry. When Snape pulled Harry out of the pensieve, he is furious. He grabs him by the arms but “[throws] Harry from him with all his might.” He does not throw him against a wall, or beat him up. He tosses him away from himself warningly and orders him to leave and say nothing. He then throws a jar of dead cockroaches against the wall above Harry’s head out of frustration, when he easily could have thrown the jar directly at Harry. (p. 572). Now, some may say this was an act of abuse. But I argue it is not. For one thing, wizarding children seem more capable of avoiding injury during situations in which muggle children would receive considerable harm. Harry has fallen off his broom from great heights. Neville was held out a window by his uncle and survived an ‘accidental’ dropping. A mere tossing would never inflict real and lasting harm.
Nonetheless, the sine qua non of proof when someone intends physical harm to Harry is the shock sensation they feel as a result of the magical protection placed upon Harry by his mother at her death. Quirrel feels it when he grabs Harry at the end of PS (p. 213). Vernon Dursley feels it when he takes hold of Harry in the first chapter of OOTP and tries to choke him (p. 10). Snape never receives this electric shock, so we can conclude that his roughness was intended solely to remove Potter from the pensieve and from his office.
In accordance with the rules set forth by the committee, I have sought to keep my explanations under 500 words per accusation. Brief though I feel they are, I hope they will provide enough supporting evidence to dismiss all charges (and accusations without criminal charge), and am available for further clarification as needed.
I once again thank you for your time in hearing my testimony.
Gina R. Snape