|"Are you a wizard or not?"
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|Disciplinary hearing of Harry Potter|
Harry Potter was called for a hearing for using underage magic.
The disciplinary hearing of Harry Potter occurred before the Wizengamot on 12 August, 1995 as the boy wizard was charged for using underage magic, that is, he was forced to conjure a Patronus Charm to save himself and his cousin Dudley Dursley from Dementors in the Muggle town of Little Whinging ten days earlier.
As this hearing took place in the midst of the Ministry of Magic's attempts to discredit Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter, there was some bias against Harry's case in hopes to expel the boy and stop him from claiming Lord Voldemort had returned, and Fudge certainly worked harder to convict Harry for this crime than Harry's previous use of underage magic, blowing up his Aunt Marge. Despite this, Harry was cleared of all charges during the hearing.
Subsequently, Harry was formally accused of performing underage magic, and was expelled. However, after Albus Dumbledore's intervention, the expulsion was retracted and changed to a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry of Magic's headquarters, before the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Amelia Bones, in her office. When Harry arrived at the Ministry Headquarters, he saw that all proceeds from the Fountain of Magical Brethren would go to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, and so he promised to empty some of his coins in there if he was found not guilty.
Cornelius Fudge, then-Minister for Magic, was attempting to discredit Harry and Dumbledore's claims about the return of Lord Voldemort, and so he changed the hearing to an earlier time and different location in the hopes of making Harry to miss it, as well as making it to be tried by the entire Wizengamot. Due to the change of time, Harry was five minutes late, but managed to attend it anyway. It is later revealed that Dolores Umbridge, a Ministry bureaucrat who served as Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic and one of Harry's prosecutors during the hearing, who had secretly ordered the Dementors to attack Harry in the first place.
- Cornelius Fudge: "Disciplinary hearing of the 12th of August in offences commited by Harry James Potter, resident of Number 4, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. Interrogators Cornelius Oswald Fudge, Minister for Magic--"
- Albus Dumbledore: "Witness for the defense: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore"
- Cornelius Fudge: "You--you got our message that the time and place of the hearing had changed, Dumbledore?"
- Albus Dumbledore: "I must have missed it, but by a happy mistake, I arrived at the Ministry three hours early"
- — Albus Dumbledore's arrival at Harry Potter's hearing in Courtroom Ten.[src]
During the hearing, Fudge was incredibly biased against Harry, in the hopes to discredit and expel the boy for his claims that Voldemort has returned. Fudge introduced highly irrelevant considerations and biased accusations into the trial, all the while denying Harry a chance to tell his version of what happened. Percy Weasley, the court scribe, was also nodding to Fudge's words and refusing to acknowledge Harry, much to Harry's fury. When Harry finally blurted out about the Dementors that attacked him, Fudge figured that he was making a convenient and weak cover story, with no witnesses to back up his claims, as Muggles can't see Dementors. However, Dumbledore, invoking the Wizengamot Charter of Rights, produced one witness, Arabella Figg, who gave an accurate description of the attack. Fudge tried dismissing her testimony, partly due to her being a Squib, more over why Dementors just happened to be in a Muggle suburb.Dumbledore tried stating that perhaps someone inside or outside the Ministry must have ordered the attack, and expressed his hopes that this matter would not go uninvestigated. As Fudge tried to get the trial back on the subject of the matter, Dumbledore cited Clause Seven of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, which was reasonable enough for Harry to defend himself and his cousin. Fudge tried pointing out the other violations of the decree Harry allegedly carried out a few years ago, such as the Hover Charm performed in 1992, or the Engorgement Charm used on his aunt the year after. Dumbledore countered that the former charge was performed by a house-elf currently employed at Hogwarts and the latter Fudge did not press charges on. He furthered stated that the Ministry does not have the authority to punish Harry for every bit of magic he has performed, nor use a full criminal trial for a simple case of underage magic.
Due to the fair Madam Bones and a majority of the court, Harry was found innocent, with only Fudge, Umbridge, and roughly half-a-dozen of the court favouring in pressing charges, despite Fudge's outrage of such a result. Harry soon emptied his entire pouch of Galleons into the Fountain of Magical Brethren in triumph.
Behind the scenes
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Mafalda Hopkirk's letter expelling Harry was a Howler, which looked less like the Howlers from the books than the one in Chamber of Secrets. Examples are: First of all, it didn't scream, second is that it wasn't red, third is that it had lips.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, while Harry and Dudley were being attacked by Dementors, Harry uses Lumos in a hurried attempt to find his wand in the darkness. Though this is also magic, it was not mentioned at the hearing. It is possible, however, that they were including this when they said underage magic.