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The police bungled the investigation

“One of the most famous trials in history was that of Benjamin Francois Courvoisier in London in 1840, who is now immortalized in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Courvoisier was a Swiss valet accused of killing his elderly employer, Lord William Russell. What made this trial notorious was the argument for the defense. The police had bungled the investigation. The evidence against Courvoisier was entirely circumstantial or had been planted. One of the officers had perjured himself, and the maid’s testimony brought suspicion on herself.

“The defense attorney, Charles Phillips, was convinced of the innocence of Courvoisier and cross-examined witnesses aggressively. At the beginning of the second day of the trial, however, Courvoisier confessed privately to his lawyer that he had committed the murder. When asked if he was going to plead guilty, he replied to Charles Phillips, ‘No, sir, I expect you to defend me to the utmost.’ Phillips was faced with a dilemma. Should he declare to the court that the man was guilty, or should he defend Courvoisier as best he could? Should he break the confidentiality of the client-lawyer relationship, or should he help a guilty man to possibly go free? Which is more important — truth or professional duty?” (Klyne Snodgrass, Between Two Truths – Living with Biblical Tensions, p. 11-12).

Before I reveal what the lawyer chose, what would you have done in this situation? Would you be loyal to your profession and the guilty man, or turn him over? As it turns out, Charles Phillips decided to defend the man. Despite his efforts, the man was convicted. However, when this decision became public, Charles Phillips was heavily criticized for his decision.

While this may not have been a tough decision for some, people are often faced with difficult decisions. Consider the following: Can I be saved, and if so, how? Which church is the right one? Can I and should I fix my marriage? Should I date this person? Who should I be friends with? Should I continue to watch this TV show or movie? Do I need to stop doing something I enjoy?

All the answers to questions like these can be found in Scripture. The Bible is more than just a good book, it is the ultimate instruction book specifically given by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It gives us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 3:9). There is simply no greater way to improve life than through Scripture. We just need to take the time to read and study its divine contents.

P.S. If you have been looking for some of the answers to the above questions, or others, please don’t hesitate to ask. We can help show you what answers God’s Word gives.

–Brett Petrillo

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