Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mendel Beilis -- What Does It Prove?

This is the summary of the 22nd day of the Mendel Beilis trial, which occurred on 16 October, 1913 on the Julian calendar, 29 October, 1913 on the Gregorian calendar.

This day occupies pages 173 through 218 of Volume II of the transcript.

 See the translation of the transcript for day 22.

Today the doctors begin giving their conclusions.  Note that Drs. Pavlov and Kadyan had no access to information about Yushchinsky’s corpse until yesterday, 15 October.  Kosorotov and Tufanov were both present on 26 March, 1911, as Kosorotov will later reveal. 

The people speaking for the government represent various situations: paid by the government (Kosorotov); demonstrably inept (Tufanov); hysterical (Sikorsky); and a vainglorious idiot (Pranaitis).  Their counterparts are immensely educated and experienced in their fields, and they demonstrate it on the stand.  The result is a general discrediting of an already self-defeated government, and also of a jury which would accept a verdict that Andrey died by ritual murder despite the medical and scriptural evidence on the other side, and the factual testimony that four non-Jews murdered Andrey. 

Kosorotov reveals today the other side of the story.  Krasovsky said he showed the shvaiki of Berko Gulko, found by Mishchuk on Yurkovsky Hill, to Tufanov, who said it wasn’t the ones that fit Andrey’s wounds.  So those are not the murder weapons.  The ones that were used to test Andrey’s wounds and found to fit, were bought by an employee of the St. Vladimir University in the market.  They are inadmissible evidence.  They were not examined by the forensic investigator and there is no record of examination attaching them to the case as relevant.  Further, unlike the autopsies, there is no record that the tests were performed in front of the investigator and witnesses. 

Kosorotov holds a dog and pony show, pretending that the Yurkovsky Hill shvaiki might have been the murder weapons.  The jury knows better.  So does Kosorotov; he has been in the courtroom since day 1.  I don’t know what this was in aid of. 

Dr. Pavlov goes through every question in the list and shows that Kosorotov is at best poorly trained and poor in experience.  This will have consequences tomorrow, but slight ones.  The consequence today is that Zamyslovsky gets mad because Dr. Pavlov changed his mind on some of the answers. 

Karabchevsky makes a small remark which nobody notices but which points out a flaw in the Russian system – or at least Boldyrev’s system – for classifying witnesses.  Kosorotov talks about some conclusions he drew, not from the evidence provided to the forensic medical experts, but from experience.  That is the kind of thing only a factual witness should do.  Boldyrev does not call Kosorotov on it.  But he refused to allow the non-expert Dudman to talk about his experience of what denomination ran his synagogue, he called it expertise.

Shmakov shows why he is such a handicap to the prosecution and cuts his own throat on his own special hobbyhorse of ritual murder.  His pet expert, Pranaitis, will claim that a direct and incontrovertible sign of ritual murder is 13 blows, no more, no less, in the neck.  Today Shmakov asks Prof. Kadyan to explain why there were 13 blows in the neck.  Of course, the professor can’t explain that any more than he can explain any of the other 34 wounds, and he is not an initiate into the folklore of ritual murder so he doesn’t even try.  But factually there is no support for Pranaitis, because the first autopsy record shows 14 stabs, and the second doesn’t refer to it at all; Gruzenberg asks the court to confirm this.  Then Shmakov makes an admission that there are 14 stabs. 

The judge has to ignore Shmakov’s statement because the ritual murder charge, though illegal in Tsarist Russian criminal court procedure, is the only one the government still hopes to win.
Judge:  Fyodor Boldyrev

            Criminal Prosecutor, Oscar Vipper
            Civil Prosecutor Georgy Zamyslovsky
            Private Civil Prosecutor Aleksey Shmakov

            Oscar Gruzenberg
Nikolay Karabchevsky
Dmitry Grigorevich-Barsky
Alexandr Zarudny
Vasily Maklakov

Present at autopsy
Performed autopsy (?)
Leib-surgeon and professor emeritus


© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved


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