View Full Version : Mitya's trial

03-30-2018, 10:42 AM
It is odd reading Mitya's trial. It takes up nearly all of the last book. I think in modern day Britain, a trial would be adjourned if a key witness was too sick to give evidence and another key witness had committed suicide the day before. Trials were expensive and I suppose they would not wait. The summings up by the both prosecuting and defence counsels are very verbose and speculative in my opinion. The prosecutor was saying things like a person with such a mind as the defendant's would not behave in such a way, but in another sort of way. Well, that's all maybe. I think, in my country, a jury may be asked how a reasonable person might act in such and such a situation, and then take into account that they may have been bullied for years or had recently gone through divorce or bereavement or something. I don't think they are asked what is in character for the defendant, who is a person they probably do not know. I am a bit surprised they did not concentrate more on the forensic evidence. They gave short shrift to the 3000 roubles that Ivan produced at trial, which is another reason the trial should be adjourned. Was there any blood around the bed clothes, or on Smerdyakov's clothes or footware? If it was not Mitya who murdered his father, then the other suspect was Smerdyakov, but surely it was up to Mitya's defence lawyer to make that scenario more plausible. Smerdyakov told Mitya about the secret signals and the hidden money. He hinted to Ivan to be away. He had a motive. He might have guessed that at some time late at night, Mitya would come to confront his father. The defence lawyer did say that Smerdyakov had a motive and that he appeared to him quite cunning and may have been jealous and resentful, but I do not think he joined the dots.

Overall, I think if I were on the jury I think I would have convicted Mitya. There is more evidence against him than O J Simpson. The only thing going for Mitya is that there was another suspect.

I do not know if there is something lacking in the translation, but I have found all this section of the book rather boring. Maybe the original Russian readers found it as thrilling as a John Grisham courtroom drama, but not me.