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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

An Alibi That Failed

An Alibi That Failed.

But of real seriousness to Meikle's case in 1887 were the hopeless contradictions between the two witnesses who were I to establish that young Meikle was ill in bed on the night the alleged theft, and did not leave and could not possibly have left the house, especially as the weather was proved to have been exceptionally wet and stormy. As will shortly appear the fact is not now denied with regard to the 17th her—the date which was then in question; but the discrepancies between Harvey and young Meikle himself were sufficiently serious to justify the jury not only in rejecting the point which they sought to prove, but also in gravely suspecting the bona fides of the defence as a whole. A successful alibi often provides an innocent man with a triumphant vindication but at the same time as such a defence is one of the most easily fabricated, to attempt an alibi and fail is notoriously one of the most fatal of blunders. Through what is now proved to have been an innocent error, Meikle's case suffered this irreparable injury in 1887. With has two chief witnesses thus in hopeless contradiction on a vital point, with himself and his wife disqualified by the law as it then stood from giving evidence, with Company's sheepskins in his possession unexplained, and with a summing-up which allowed him no loop-hole of escape, case had become a very black one for the accused; and jury may easily have arrived at their verdict of "Guilty" it about sharing the ingenuous confidence of the Judge in all improbabilities of Lambert's story.