Story: A man was arraigned for murder in Los Angeles about 60 years ago. It was a difficult case with a lot of circumstantial evidence.
The man’s defence lawyer, however, thought of an ingenious ploy. In his summing up speech, he said:
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, you must find my client not guilty of murder - if there is the slightest doubt in your minds that he is not the murderer.
And now I have one final witness. “The true murderer is about to walk through the door.”
All eyes swung towards the door but no one came in.
The lawyer continued: “You see, Ladies and Gentlemen, there is doubt in your minds, otherwise you would not have looked towards the door.”
The jury retired to deliberate and came back five hours later with a “Guilty” verdict.
The lawyer was beside himself and before the judge could pass sentence he sprang up and said
“But I proved that you had a doubt about my client’s guilt. How can you possibly find him guilty?”
An old wizened man in the jury stood up and said: “As everyone looked towards the door, I watched your client. His eyes did not turn towards the door.
He did not look towards the door because he knew no one was coming through.
Because he himself was the guilty one.”
In contrast to that Los Angeles Courtroom, where the star witness DID NOT appear, this morning’s Gospel reading is all about a star witness who DID appear.