John Marsden Writing Topic #111

Write an account of a trial where ‘Youth’ is the defendant, and various witnesses are called**

People vs Youth#

Bailiff: All rise. Department One of the Superior Court is now in session. Judge Long Life presiding. Please be seated.

Judge: Good morning, ladies and gentleman. Calling the case of the People versus Youth. Are both sides ready?

District Attorney (DA): Ready for the people, Your Worship.

Public Defender (PD): Ready for the defence, Your Worship.

Judge: Will the clerk please swear in the jury?

Clerk: Will the jury please stand and raise your right hand? Do each of you swear that you will fairly try the case before this court, and that you will return a true verdict according to the evidence and the instructions of the court, so help you, God? Please say “I do.” You may be seated.

DA: Your Worship and ladies and gentleman of the jury: the defendant, Youth, has been charged with the crime of fraud or misleading people about their services. The evidence will show that Youth deliberately misled people about the services they provide for people in their lives and when their services end. The evidence I present will prove to you that the defendant is guilty as charged.

PD: Your Worship and ladies and gentleman of the jury: under the law my client is presumed innocent until proven guilty. During this trial, you will hear no real evidence against my client. You will come to know the truth: that Youth was just providing the services that they are required to. After they fulfilled their contractual obligations towards the people, they moved on to fulfil their obligations to the next generation.  Just because Youth are only required to fulfil their contractual obligations for a limited period of time that doesn’t mean that they misled or committed fraud. Therefore my client is not guilty.

Judge: The prosecution may call its first witness.

DA: The People call Adolescence

Clerk: Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Adolescence: I do.

Clerk: You may be seated.

DA: You work for the People in their lives, just like Youth does?

Adolescence: Yes I do.

DA: How long do you work for the People?

Adolescence: About six years, give or take a year, depending on when puberty starts and ends for each individual.

DA: And you work under a contractual obligation just like Youth does?

Adolescence: Yes I do

DA: So what’s the difference between you and Youth? How come you’ve never been accused of and/or charged with fraud?

Adolescence: I’m a physical and physiological part of life that has been scientifically established as a part of life that exists for a short period of time. Everyone knows that I finish working for people when they reach adulthood. Some people believe that Youth is Adolescence and that our definitions and jobs are interchangeable, however Youth is more of a state mind or a category of age. We work together for a period of time, but we’re not the same.

DA: Thank you, I have no further questions.

Judge: Does the defence have any questions?

PD: Yes I do, Your Worship.

PD: You said that your contractual obligations “give or take a year” depending on when puberty starts and ends for each individual. Is this “give or take” included in your contract when you work for People?

Adolescence: No, it’s more of a given, I can’t tell or control when puberty begins and ends, which means I can’t tell or control when I start and finish work.

PD: You say you and Youth work together for a period of time, does that mean that Youth can’t tell or control when they start and finish work anymore than you can?

Adolescence: I guess you can say that.

PD: Thank you, I have no further questions.

Judge: The prosecution may call the next witness.

DA: The People call Reality.

Clerk: Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Reality: I do.

Clerk: You may be seated.

DA: Reality, are you under any contractual obligations like Adolescence and Youth?

Reality: No, I exist beyond a contract. I’m part of peoples’ lives for as long as they live.

DA: But you work with both Adolescence and Youth?

Reality: Yes and Adulthood, Middle Age and Golden Years.

DA: How do you work with Adolescence?

Reality: I make people aware of what Adolescence is really like. I make sure that both boys and girls know and learn what puberty is like and how to deal with it, that school is only one part of their lives but that they need to take it seriously so they can transition into adulthood.

DA: How do you work with Youth?

Reality: I make people aware that Youth is a wonderful part of life to hold onto for as long as possible.

DA: For as long as possible? You mean that Youth doesn’t last?

Reality: Youth is a state of mind, some people stop working with Youth early into adulthood, however Youth does eventually stop working with people even when people don’t stop working with them. Everyone gets older, I can’t stop that and neither can Youth.

DA: Thank you, I have no further questions.

Judge: Does the defence have any questions?

PD: Yes I do Your Worship.

PD: You say that you make people aware of what Adolescence is really like and you make people aware that Youth is a wonderful part of life to hold onto. When you make people aware of these parts of life, do they all react and live their lives the same way?

Reality: No, everyone reacts and lives their lives differently.

PD: So everyone interprets the information you provide to them differently and make their own choices?

Reality: Yes.

PD: So you could say that everyone interprets their contract with Youth differently and make their own choices as to when they end their contracts?

Reality: I guess so.

PD: Thank you, I have no further questions.

Judge: Does the prosecution have any other witnesses?

DA: Yes Your Worship, the People call Adulthood.

Clerk: Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Adulthood: I do.

Clerk: You may be seated.

DA: How long do you work for people?

Adulthood: My contract with people begins when their contract with Adolescence ends, from the age of 18 until the day they die.

DA: So you have no interaction with Adolescence?

Adulthood: No.

DA: Do you have any interaction with Youth?

Adulthood: Yes I do.

DA: How much interaction?

Adulthood: It depends on the individual and whether they’ve terminated their contracts with Youth.

DA: Who would you say terminates the contracts? Youth or the individual?

Adulthood: Usually the individual, but I can’t say for sure, it’s really up to the individual to abide by and maintain the contract, however with some individuals if they are working completely with me or want to work only exclusively with me, Youth will  stop working as they feel no longer needed.

DA: Thank you, I have no further questions and no other witnesses, Your Worship.

Judge: Does the defence have any questions?

PD: Yes, Your Worship. You say that the individual usually terminates the contracts with Youth. Does this mean that the individual terminates the contract more than Youth does?

Adulthood: In my experience, yes.

PD: Why do you think this is?

Adulthood: Like I said, some individuals completely want to work with me or work with me exclusively when they transition into adulthood or they feel obligated to transition to adulthood.

PD: So you say that usually Youth are abiding by their contracts?

Adulthood: Yes, I’d say that.

PD: Thank you, I have no further questions.

DA: Your Worship, the People rest their case.

Judge: Is the defence ready with its case?

PD: Yes, Your Worship. I call the defendant.

Clerk: Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Youth: I do.

Clerk: You may be seated.

PD: You’ve heard Adolescence, Reality and Adulthood testify. Adolescence testified some people believe that Youth and Adolescence and that both your definitions and jobs are interchangeable, however Youth is more of a state of mind or a category of age. Do you agree with that statement?

Youth: Yes I would, however I do take exception to being a category of age. I am under contract with peoples’ lives for their entirety or unless they make the decision to terminate their contract with me.

PD: Do you make this exception clear to people?

Youth: I try to, but it’s up to the individual to believe me.

PD: Would you agree with Adolescence’s statement about the two of you working together for a period of time but that you’re not the same?

Youth: Yes I would.

PD: Adolescence also stated that it could be interpreted that Youth has no more control over when your contract begins and ends, would you agree with that statement?

Youth: Yes I would, however I do take exception in regards to the beginning of the contract.

PD: How so?

Youth: My contract begins as soon as a person is born, I don’t have control over when someone is born however I do know that’s when my contract begins. However I have no control over the end of a contract.

PD: Reality testified that some people stop working with you early into adulthood, however you eventually stop working with people, even when they don’t stop working you. Do you agree with that statement?

Youth: I do agree with the statement of people choosing to terminate their contracts with me when they reach and work exclusively with adulthood. However I don’t agree with the statement that I stop working with people, I never stop working with people, it just seems that way to some people because they are working so hard and exclusively with adulthood that they forget how hard I worked for them, sometimes they forget about me entirely.

PD: So you agree with Reality’s statement of everyone interpreting their contracts with you differently and making their own choices as to when to end them?

Youth: Yes.

PD: And you would agree with Adulthood’s testimony that it’s up to the individual to abide by and maintain their contracts with you and that usually it’s the individual that terminates their contracts with you?

Youth: Yes and yes.

PD: Thank you, I have no further questions and the defence rests.

Judge: Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I am now going to read to you the law that you must follow in deciding this case.

To prove the crime charged against the defendant, the prosecution must prove to you that Youth has deliberately misled people about the services they provide for people in their lives and when their services end.

If each of you believes that the prosecution has proved the charge of fraud beyond a reasonable doubt, then you should find the defendant guilty. But if you believe the prosecution did not prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant not guilty.

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean beyond all possible doubt. It means that you must consider all of the evidence and that you are very sure that the charge is true.

Judge: Are you ready with your final arguments?

DA: Yes, Your Worship.

PD: Yes, Your Worship.

DA: Your Worship, ladies and gentleman of the jury: the judge has told you that I must prove that Youth has deliberately misled people about the services they provide for people in their lives and when their services end. Youth testified that they take exceptions to the definitions outlined by Adolescence, Reality and Adulthood. They took exception to being defined as a category of age, rather preferring to be defined as a state of mind and that they have contracts with people their entire lives. They took exception to the definition of the beginning of their contract, stating that their contracts start when people are born and have no control over the end of a contract. They took exception to the most important fact of all that it’s up to the individual to abide by and maintain and terminate their contract. They took exception to these definitions but it wasn’t until this trial that they bothered to make it clear. That shows that the defendant deliberately misled people about the services they provide for people in the lives and when the services end for as long as possible, until they were forced to be truthful. According to what the judge just told you, that is all we have to prove. Based on the evidence, you must find the defendant guilty.

PD: Your Worship, ladies and gentleman of the jury: Youth took exceptions to many parts of Adolescence’s, Reality’s and Adulthood’s testimonies not to mislead but to define, to make their contractual obligations clear, especially as they are only required to fulfil these obligations in a short period of time. Youth can no longer control the length of their contracts more than Adolescence can, Youth can no longer control an individual’s interpretation of their contract’s meaning more than Reality can. Youth made it clear that it’s up to the individual to maintain their contract with them and Adulthood corroborates this. Just because an individual has lost or forgotten their Youth and what it was like, it doesn’t mean that Youth didn’t fulfil their obligations and committed fraud. A person finding that they have lost their Youth isn’t fraud made. The prosecution has presented no real evidence to counteract these exceptions and definitions. That means that there is a reasonable doubt and therefore you must find the defendant not guilty.

Judge: Will the jury foreperson please stand? Has the jury reached a unanimous verdict?

Foreperson: We have Your Worship.

Clerk: The jury finds the defendant not guilty.

Judge: The jury is thanked and excused. Youth, you are free to go. Court is adjourned.

 

 

#This transcript is based on an American mock trial transcript written for school students, which can be found here.

 

**Reference: Marsden J 1998, Everything I Know About Writing, Pan Macmillan, Australia.

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