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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Defective Logioc !

Defective Logioc !

The attempt was made to support the withholding of the extraordinary evidence for eighteen years by calling witnesses to prove—under the free and easy methods allowed by the Commission to both sides—that Lambert had made similar statements out of Court in 1887. But how could that help him when these statements were not merely omitted from, but flatly contradicted by, his testimony in both Courts in that year? How can it bridge the fatal contradiction between the two statements of 1906? He saw that the brand on the sheep that was killed was red; he knew that Meikle brand was black (C. 17¼16); yet for all that the dead sheep might have been one of Meikle's! The fact, of course, is that in the last of the answers above quoted he was thinking only of smoothing over the contradiction between his two statements of 1887 with regard to the earmarks, and quite for getting that the same explanation was utterly irrecoconcilable with the possibility of his having seen a red brand on the dead sheep.

It is indeed suggested by Mr. Justice Edwards that want of logic is sufficient to account for such a contradiction (C. 323, ad fin.) Judicial charity does not usually go so far page 23 as to excuse a witness's inability to distinguish between black and white as due to defective logic. Yet the difference between black and red here was as wide as the difference between black and white in any ordinary circumstances, since black meant that the sheep might have been Meikle's, and red meant that, whether the Company's or not, it could not possibly be his. A more conventional appreciation of this kind of defective logic was displayed by the jury which convicted Lambert of perjury in 1895, and by the Judge who gave him the longest sentence that the law allowed. It would be wicked to beat a dog on the unsupported testimony of so illogical a gentleman as Meikle's sole accuser.