Poison Pen

Harry has had enough of seeing his reputation shredded in the Daily Prophet and decides to do something about it. Only he decides to embrace his Slytherin side to rectify matters.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5554780/1/Poison-Pen

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3. Truth takes a Back Seat

Arthur Weasley, head of the Weasley clan, stepped out of the courtroom with a very pale Harry Potter. It had been a grueling hour and a half for both. Fortunately for Harry, the Wizengamot had found the boy innocent of using underage magic to chase two dementors away from himself and his muggle cousin. It had been a near thing.

Albus Dumbledore saved the day at the trial and then promptly left, leaving Arthur to take care of the traumatized young wizard. The tall red-head was perplexed with the elderly wizard's cavalier attitude towards the distraught boy.

Why had Albus left in such a hurry? And why didn't the man look at Harry, greet him, or comfort him? He was sure Albus had his reasons, but not explaining them had left young Harry bereft and shaken.

"Wait! Mr. Potter? A moment of your time?" A stately elderly wizard strolled up, holding a cane in the air to draw their attention. The man was well dressed and carrying a briefcase in his left hand.

"Sorry no autographs," Arthur started to say, ushering Harry towards the exit.

"I should hope not," said the elderly gentleman, pulling out a card. "I am Lord Peter Flinchley-Addams. Retainer for the Potter family for many years."

Harry took the proffered card and looked it over. "Why are you just now approaching me?" he asked, confused.

"My apologies, Mr. Potter. I was unable to attend your trial. It would seem someone in the Ministry owled me the incorrect time and place," the distinguished wizard complained disdainfully. "For which I wish to offer my sincerest apologies, Mr. Potter. I can assure you no one in my office would make such a reprehensible blunder."

Arthur looked at Harry who was fingering the business card. Both were thinking that having a barrister earlier would have helped tremendously in Harry's defense.

Leaning closer, the silver-haired gentleman placed a hand on Harry's shoulder. "Could I have a moment of Mr. Potter's time in private?"

"Now see here!" Arthur sputtered, recognizing the wizard was one of the top Barrister of the Wizarding World. This regal wizard was not someone to offend. However, he had his orders from Albus. "I need to get Harry back to the Burrow. Molly and the others are waiting for us. . ."

"This will only take a few moments, sir," the barrister reassured, glancing at the teen.

"I don't see what it would hurt, do you Mr. Weasley?" Harry asked, turning to the gentleman in question. "You aren't a Death Eater are you?"

Lord Peter smiled, raised his cane and invoked an oath, "I, Lord Peter Flinchley-Addams, do swear on my magic that I am not now nor ever will I be a follower of the Dark Lord Voldemort. Yes, I too can say his name. I am who I claim to be, a Barrister-At-Law and a personal retainer to the Potter Family. So mote It be."

"So mote It be," Harry repeated and smiled as magic swirled around them sealing the oath. Turning to Mr. Weasley, he pleaded. "I would like to hear what he has to say."

Arthur sighed but nodded. "Very well, Harry but I have to stay with you. Albus and Molly would have my head if anything happened to you."

"If I may," Lord Peter Flinchley-Addams interjected. "Headmaster Dumbledore has refused me access to Mr. Potter since his parents were killed." He ushered them into an empty nearby conference room. "Further more, he has repeatedly denied all my requests to meet with him since his return to the Wizarding World at age eleven. I can assure you both, what I have to say is very important."

A stunned Arthur complied silently as the door closed behind them.

0o0o0o0

Harry was delighted. Finally, someone would be on his side. The brief meeting went well. He could tell that Mr. Weasley was overwhelmed by it all. Thankfully, Lord Peter was able to get a wizard's oath from Mr. Weasley. Lord Peter had insisted on the oath to protect his client's rights to privacy.

Harry and Lord Peter couldn't go into great detail on past family business with Mr. Weasley present, but it was a start. Lord Peter was appalled that Harry had been kept in the dark about his rights and status in the Wizarding World.

Later that night at the Burrow, while Ron was sleeping, Harry was able to write a quick note to Lord Peter about how to contact him without using an owl. It wouldn't do for anyone to intercept any of their correspondence. It was unfortunate that he couldn't tell the barrister everything he wanted to with Mr. Weasley listening in.

He instructed Dobby, now that he was back in the Wizarding World, that any mail addressed to Oliver Twist should be placed in a new envelope and re-addressed to Harry Potter before it was delivered. It just wouldn't do to have Harry Potter to accepting mail addressed to Oliver Twist. Dobby was also instructed to make sure that Harry's magic signature could not be traced on any out-going mail as a precaution.

Setting up a date with the Goblins would be tricky. He was sure that he would not be allowed to go to Diagon Alley alone. Maybe if he asked Mr. Weasley if he could accompany him? No, Mrs. Weasley and Dumbledore would not allow it. Maybe if he asked the Goblins for a solution?

0o0o0o0

Ragnok tapped the letter he had just received from Mr. Potter. The meeting between him and Lord Flinchly-Addams went well but had been supervised by a third party. Mr. Potter expressed his regrets about missing the meeting between him and the goblins as someone from the Ministry sent two rogue dementors after him and his muggle cousin. Now Mr. Potter would be watched constantly and have no way to get free of his watchers.

A slow smile formed on the ancient goblin's face. There was one way to fix that. Quickly he wrote out his orders and a letter to Gringott's most valued customer. That done, he sat back and waited.

0o0o0o0

That next evening Dobby slipped Ron a sleeping draught that the Goblins had provided. Once Ron was safely asleep and the house quiet for the night, Harry took out the port-key and whispered, "Profit." Since the third task, Harry had been a bit squeamish about using a port-key but he'd been reassured that this one was to Gringotts and nowhere else. Harry trusted the goblins more than he did almost anyone else.

Landing unceremoniously in a heap at the feet of two goblin guards, Harry swore under his breath. The guards grinned at the young wizard before helping him up. "Mr. Potter?" one of them asked.

"That's me," Harry said, dusting himself off. "I have a meeting with Director Ragnok."

The meeting lasted an hour and a half. Harry and the goblins agreed they couldn't take the chance for him to be missing longer than that. Both he and Ragnok had a list of items that needed to be worked out. They were both pleased with the outcome. Nothing was fully solved as it would take more than just an hour to go through everything, but they at least had a good start.

Harry was pleased to note that Dumbledore had kept his fingers out of the Potter accounts, even if he was receiving Harry's bank statements. Gringotts had sent a letter to the elderly wizard that all keys and bank statements were being recalled due to irregularities. The ancient wizard had sent a reply that he was agreeable with this arrangement and to let him know when he could expect the problem to be resolved.

Harry smirked, placing the Potter heirs ring on his left hand. "How long can you stall?" he asked as he watched the ring become invisible.

"For as long as you need, Lord Potter," Ragnok replied with an equally evil smirk. "By the way, Lord Potter, your ring will remain invisible until you wish otherwise."

Harry returned to the Burrow with no one the wiser. Not sleepy yet, he sat down at Ron's desk and started to write another letter.

0o0o0o0

Xeno Lovegood was looking over the Prophet's perspective on the farce known as the 'Trial of Harry Potter' when an owl delivered a letter.

Dear Mr. Lovegood,

Thank you for answering my questions when it appeared that the Daily Prophet refused to do so. I really appreciate the answers you gave about truth in reporting. I had never looked at it in that light before.

You were right about truth and lies. Take what happened to Harry Potter recently. I read the trial account in the Prophet and it had me wondering about a few things. So I went to my father's barrister. He said if I really wanted to know more about it, he would try to get a copy of the trial transcript. So I said yes, I was interested and he did. Did you know once a trial is over, it becomes public domain? Unless sealed by the Ministry anyone can receive a copy.

The question I wondered was why didn't they use Veritaserum to get at the truth? Or a pensieve? I mean they were trying Potter as an adult after all according to the Prophet, even though he is only 15! Last I knew 15 was still considered a minor.

Then too there is the fact that the Ministry changed the time and place of Potter's trial at the last minute. After which they failed to notify the defendant of the changes! Was the Ministry trying to get Potter convicted without even being there to defend himself? Where was due notice? Why didn't Potter have legal counsel? Has any one other than Potter ever been tried as an adult for underage magic without the benefit of counsel before?

As you can see, I have serious doubts about our legal system in the Wizarding World. Is the Ministry that dictatorial when it comes to the rights of an underage wizard?

And lastly, where were Potter's guardians in all this, why weren't they at the trial? According to the transcript, no one spoke up for Potter, that is until the Headmaster arrived with a squib witness.

Is this lack of concern for the rights and well-being of a magical child typical of the Wizarding World of Britain?

Could you set me straight on this? Enclosed is a copy of the trial transcript that the Ministry sent me, maybe you can point out the wisdom of our judicial system that I am missing.

Sincerely,

Oliver Twist

Xeno read the letter and then took out the parchment scroll that had the official seal of the Ministry. The next hour he went through the transcript and shuddered. He always knew that Fudge was an arse and a fool but this was completely over the top! The man has a political death wish and Oliver Twist along with raising several very interesting questions, has hammered the first nail into Fudge's coffin.

0o0o0o0

Dobby popped in as Harry was just finishing his shower. A week at the Burrow had left Harry wishing for the quiet of the Dursleys. Well, almost wishing. Harry hadn't had much privacy and it was hard trying to keep Dobby a secret along with his many projects. Oh well, he did want a challenge after all.

Dobby handed Harry his copy of the Quibbler. Harry flipped through it. He hoped that his letter was there and it was. His jaw dropped as he read the response. However, he was more amazed that the trial transcript had also been printed in its entirety! Something the Prophet hadn't dared.

Dear Mr. Twist,

I am gratified to see someone of your young(?) years taking an interest in politics. You are right in that trial transcripts are public domain, unless sealed by the Ministry and they may only be sealed when questions of public safety arise. I must say reading young Mr. Potter's trial transcript was a lesson in what is wrong with our legal system.

You are correct that veritaserum and/or a pensieve would've saved everyone time and energy.

I am also surprised that a mistrial wasn't declared, as you have pointed out, Mr. Potter wasn't represented by legal counsel. Having Albus Dumbledore speaking on his behalf was not a suitable substitute for legal counsel. It makes me glad I went into journalism.

As for the dementors, I too would like to know how two of them made it to Mr. Potter's muggle home without the Ministry being aware of their movements. They are after all, restricted to Azkaban and under Ministry control. To my knowledge, they are not permitted to leave the island without Ministry approval.

It is obvious from what I read that it was a clear case of self defense on Mr. Potter's part. I have looked into the laws governing underage use of magic and there is a clause that states that an underage wizard or witch can use magic in self-defense when their life is threatened, which was clearly the case here. The unfortunate aspect was Mr. Potter did it in front of his muggle cousin, clearly against the law. However, a good barrister would have argued that Mr. Potter's muggle cousin already knew about magic and Mr. Potter is therefore exempt from that law.

If Mr Potter so chooses to pursue the matter, a good barrister has a solid case against the Ministry's lack of control over their dementors and for trying him as an adult.

As for guardianship, I am afraid Mr. Potter's files have been sealed since the day his parents were killed. No one knows who his magical guardian is, and I can almost bet that Mr. Potter doesn't know either from what I could ascertain. Since they would've protested his treatment last year at Hogwarts, when he, as a minor, was forced into a magical contract against his will.

Lastly, I must caution you, my young reader. The ministry is very quick to sue any they feel who have libelous intent against them. However, they would not be wise to set such a precedent.

Although I have enjoyed the questions you raise, I am sure the Ministry does not.

So take care, my young friend.

Xeno Lovergood
Editor-In-Chief

0o0o0o0

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