The Let's Play Archive

Aviary Attorney

by Xander77

Part 7: First Trial - The Artist

: Yes, yes, of course, your honor. I call upon, um, let's see... Monsieur Robittio Robinio, the, uh, photographer who attended the banquet on the night of the murder.

: Monsieur Robittio Robinio, please approach the stand and recite the oath.


: It's a little cliché, to be perfectly honest.

: Could the, uh, witness please introduce himself for the, uh, court record.

: Hmph. As if anybody in this courtroom does not immediately recognize me. I am the great Monsieur Robittio Robinio. Cutting edge photographer and visionary.

: I don't just take people's pictures. I capture their very essence. Je suis l'artiste. Te es une pipe.

: You may have seen my works in hip magazines "Le Branché" or "C'est Chouette". I can send you tweets, if you'd like.

: What on Earth is a tweet?

: Bird-to-bird communication. Come on, Falcon, it's the 19th Century. Get with the times already.

: Yes, yes, your works are very, um, impressive, Monsieur Robinio, but let's get down to business. Could you tell us your, uh, activities on the night of the murder?

: I arrived at seven in the evening. I pointed my camera, and captured the beauty of the banquet in one fantastic photograph. Then I billed Baron Rorgueil and left.

: Like a true artist.

: And, uh, with regards to the photograph itself. Who did you photograph?

: I thought you might ask. I brought a copy so that you could all see for yourselves.

: Oh, very good. Let's take a closer look.

: In the middle, we see, uh, Baron Rorgueil, the lion who hosted the event. On the left, we see, um, Seigneur Purrtoir Demiaou, the father of the defendant, Dame Caterline. And finally, we see the, uh, the housemaid, Couline Duhaut, who I suspect may have snuck into the picture uninvited.

: The second is the defendant, Dame Caterline Demiaou. Quite suspicious, wouldn't you agree?

: Just a moment, Monsieur Rabbington. This proves nothing. So the defendant and the victim were not photographed with the others. That doesn't mean that they were in the garden together at that point.

: Hold your horses, Falcon. I'm not done yet.

: The prosecution may continue.

: Now, why is that time significant? Well, as Inspector Volerti told us earlier, that was the exact time the murder took place! Do you see, Falcon? Every suspect has an alibi at the time of the murder, save for Dame Caterline herself!

: Falcon, something is fishy. In the jail cell, Dame Caterline told us that she was present when the photograph took place... but I don't see her in Robinio's photograph.

: That's true. But I can't use Dame Caterline's testimony as evidence. It has too little weight. If I want to prove that Monsieur Robinio's photograph is not a valid piece of evidence, I will have to dish out evidence of my own.

: Your honor, I would like to cross-examine the witness.

: Very well. The defense may proceed.

: Hmph. It's a waste of time, if you ask me. Photographs are rock-solid evidence!

Trial Turn-About

: Monsieur Robinio, you say that you arrived at seven o'clock.

: Give or take a couple of minutes, yes.

: How do you know that you arrived at seven?

: Well, the clock in my house read 6:45 when I left. And the walk to Château Crinière was around fifteen minutes. I don't claim to be a flawless timekeeper, but I am a professional. I always stick to an appointment.

: How long did it take to set up your camera?

: It took perhaps twenty-five minutes to find a shooting location, put together the camera, and ready the film.

: So you arrived at seven... and the photograph took place at seven thirty... and you spent twenty-five minutes setting up... That leaves five minutes unaccounted for.

: Falcon, surely you aren't suggesting that Monsieur Robinio did something, um, nefarious in this small window of time?

: I would like to ask about the camera itself.

: Go on.

: How exactly does the camera work?

: I am afraid that that is a patented trade secret.

: Oh. But it is a mechanical device, yes? You point it at something, and then it clicks and whirrs, and out shoots a photograph?

: Hmph. That's quite a crass explanation. It is true that I point and click the camera. But that only creates a negative. A prototype, of sorts. I then have to develop the photograph... and that takes time.

: How much time, exactly?

: Around four days. This photograph is hot off the press, if you will.

: I suppose that does explain why the Baron hasn't received his photograph yet.

: Can a camera ever make mistakes?

: Hmph. Now there's a question only an imbecilic, technophobic philistine could ask. No, Monsieur. The camera is a flawless device. My photographs offer a perfect reflection of reality. Nothing more, nothing less.

: So if there were an inconsistency between a photograph and reality, what would that imply?

: An odd question. I don't think such a thing could ever be possible.

: But if one were to see such a thing...

: Falcon! Stop dancing around the point, and tell us what you are trying to get at.

: Let's take a closer look at this photograph.

: I was under the impression that photographs were flawless reproductions of reality. And yet, I see something that is totally at odds with reality. It is a glaring error. It's something that is so blatant, I am amazed it has been overlooked...

: A... a glaring error?!

: Impossible!

: For you see, where as reality is in color...


: ...

: Monsieur Falcon. You are quite the foolish Luddite, aren't you? There is no mistake. All photographs are in black and white.

: All of them?

: Yes. It's a limitation of photographic technology.

: Oh. Now I feel silly.

: Monsieur Robinio, I would like to ask about your billing process.

: Okay.

: Did you bill Baron Rorgueil, and then immediately leave the scene?

: That's right. I'm a busy artist, you understand? I had no time for dilly-dallying.

: So you didn’t witness the murder or the aftermath firsthand?

: No. From what I understand, I left right before the housemaid went to investigate the garden.

: That’s a little suspicious, is it not?

: Falcon, it is coincidental timing, maybe, but let's not throw out blind accusations.

: How much did you charge the baron for your services?

: That is quite a personal question. My rate varies according to the subject, the client, and the circumstances. I don't wish to give an-

: You are under oath, Monsieur Robinio.

: Hold on, Falcon. Just because Monsieur Robinio is under oath doesn't mean that he has to answer every trivial question that you fling his way!

: Does his photography rate have anything to do with the, uh, case at hand?

: I see a mistake in the photograph.

: A mistake? Impossible! I just told you, Monsieur: The camera is a perfect, unbiased device. The photographs it produces are flawless!

: Falcon, I'm not seeing any, uh, mistakes. Perhaps you could be more specific.

: Certainly.

: The clock in this photograph... there is something not right about it.

: Hmm, well isn't that convenient? The defense sees something wrong with the, uh, key piece of evidence that implicates his client.

: Don't give me that cocky tone, Monsieur Rabbington! I have evidence that there's something wrong with the clock in that picture!

: The photograph clearly shows the clock's hands pointing at seven and six.

: That much is self-evident.

: It... It has no hands?!

: The clock is merely a decorative piece. A talking item. Feel free to ask Baron Rorgueil or his housemaid, if you have doubts. Monsieur Robinio, how do you explain this discrepancy?

: I... I don't know! There must be some sort of mistake! My camera is flawless!

: There is no mistake, monsieur. Your photograph depicts something that does not exist in the real world.

: M-Maybe there was an error in the printing process...

: An error precisely where the clock's hands should be? Please, monsieur, don't patronize us. Allow me to offer a more plausible explanation.

: E-Edited?!

: I'm no expert, but I suspect you used paint or ink to carefully put hands upon the clock! It would have been a simple task, considering that the clock face was bare. One could even speculate that you specifically chose to include a handless clock in the photograph just to simplify the editing process!

: I... I...

: Falcon, your reasoning is absurd! Why would the witness do such a thing?

: Is it not obvious? By showing the photograph to have taken place at precisely seven thirty, it clears all the photograph's subjects of suspicion. In other words, Monsieur Robinio created a perfect alibi!

: ...

: Of course, this raises further questions. Who is the witness protecting? And why? Was Monsieur Robinio coerced? Bribed? Threatened? Enough silence! Let's hear some answers, Monsieur Robinio!

: You did it?! You're confessing to the murder of Monsieur Grenwee?

: What? No, no, no. I have no idea who killed the frog. I'm just admitting that I'm guilty of producing fraudulent photographs. I was ordered to... make changes... to the printed photographs. And yes, that included adding hands to the clock.

: You were ordered? By whom?

: I... dare not say.

: Monsieur Robinio, I strongly advise you to answer the defense's question. You have pledged to speak without fear, after all.

: With respect, Judge, I fear... his claws... more than I fear the punishment of the justice system. I shall name no names.

: "His claws"! Did you hear that, Falcon?

: That is most unfortunate. Monsieur Robinio, we cannot and shall not torture names out of you. We don't live under the Ancien Régime, after all. But since you have admitted to falsifying evidence, then we cannot keep you on the stand as a witness. Take your leave. You shall be charged with perjury in due course.

: I can't protest. That's the least I deserve for my failure as an artist. Good day, messieurs.

: So the, uh, clock's hands were painted on. So what? It doesn't matter! The photograph still depicts Dame Caterline as absent close to the time of the murder. That's significant!

: Don't be dense, Monsieur Rabbington. If the photograph is not completely genuine, then it cannot be considered reliable evidence.

: Why not? It's still a portrayal of the, uh, night's events.

: Because, if we accept that one part of the picture was edited, then we must accept the possibility that other parts were too. It is possible that Dame Caterline was painted out. Even worse, it is possible that another person was painted in. We know that the witness was trying to cover for someone, so all possibilities must be accounted for.

: So what are you saying, Falcon? That the housemaid paid off the photographer? Or was it Seigneur Purtoir Demiaou, perhaps?

: I don't think so. The housemaid lacks a means or motive. And it wouldn't make sense for Seigneur Purrtoir to implicate his own daughter.

: Well, surely you're not suggesting that the honest and beloved baron Rorgueil deliberately tried to frame Dame Caterline? Because that would be the most outlandish theory yet. The baron is a pillar of our community! He would never do such a thing.

: Monsieur Rabbington, I'm not here to throw accusations. That's the job of you, the prosecutor. However -

Baron Rorgueil