Luke Skywalker found innocent in Yellowknife courtroom

Reactions from the witnesses and defendant after Luke Skywalker was found not guilty.
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“A smuggler, rebel and religious fanatic” proved Luke Skywalker’s innocence in territorial court Thursday. 

The Jedi from Tatooine faced trial, charged with unlawfully destroying the Death Star and 5,999 counts of murder (the number of people who died when the Death Star exploded).

Skywalker pleaded not guilty after being read the charges, and the trial commenced. 12 jurors were selected from the students in attendance from Sir John Franklin High School.

First up, the Crown presented its case. The first witness called: Emperor Palpatine.

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The emperor claimed that the Death Star had a value of roughly $7,000,000 republic dollars, and that he saw Skywalker attacking the Death Star on the night in question and barely escaped with his life.

Next, the Crown called Darth Vader to the stand, followed by a very emotional Stormtrooper #12.

With the Crown having presented its case, the judge turned the trial over to the defence. First up to the stand was Skywalker, who testified in his own defence.

Skywalker claimed that not only did he destroy the Death Star, but that he had the right to do it. He claimed it was self-defence as his planet had been targeted by Darth Vader and the Empire.

Next up for the defence was Han Solo. He claimed that if the Death Star hadn’t been destroyed, the Empire would start to rule the galaxy through fear.

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When it came time for cross-examination however, his credibility started to wean. The Crown brought into question what he did for a living. They claimed he was both a smuggler and a professional liar.

The final witness called to the stand was Princess Leia. The main points she got across during the defence examination were that the rebels had declared war on the Empire and that Darth Vader and the emperor should be on trial, and not Skywalker.

When it came time for the cross-examination from the Crown, she was asked about the nature of her relationship with both Luke and Han Solo to which she responded,”he is my subject” in reference to Luke, and “totally platonic” when referring to her and Han Solo.

In closing statements, the defence claimed that Luke had the right to destroy the Death Star as it was an act of self-defence.

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The Crown said he had “no right” to destroy the Death Star and that the defence’s witnesses couldn’t be trusted as they were “a smuggler, rebel and a religious fanatic”.

The jury deliberated quickly (about 10 minutes) before coming back and delivering their verdict. Jury foreman and Grade 11 student Sai Kottagajula delivered the verdict of not guilty.

The jury of 12, made up of students from Sir John Franklin High School
The jury of 12, made up of students from Sir John Franklin High School. Foreman Sai Kottagajula sits third from the left in the front row.

After the trial was over, 100.1 The Moose caught up with Kottagajula to talk to him about his experience.

He said it was “fun” and “eye opening”, but he definitely “felt the weight of responsibility” with the fate of even a fictional character in his hands.

When asked about how he became the foreman, Sai said it was an accident. “I sat at the head of the table [when we got into the jury room] and everyone just looked at me”.

He added it was easy for him to inform the court of the jury’s decision since he was just acting as the mouth of his peers.

He was also asked how nerve-wracking it was to deliver a verdict with Darth Vader in the room.

“I was a bit scared bringing back a not-guilty verdict with Vader sitting there. I was just hoping I wouldn’t get force-choked.”

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