Trial by Contest

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Swordfights are common Trials

A Trial by Contest is a sub-section of the Prosperan Judicial System, dating back to the city-state era. It originally was made so that a criminal with a small offense could prove his worth to Prospitan society by defeating a government challenger, and thereby getting a position in the government using that skill. Upon failure, a guilty verdict is given and the sentence is carried out as normal.

A Trial by Contest can be invoked at any time by the defendant before the verdict has been declared. When a trial is invoked, court procedures come to a halt and the arrangements to conduct the trial begin. The accused (ie, the defendant) may choose any trial he wishes, as long as it abides by a few distinct rules:

1. The Trial may not, under any circumstances, lead to injury, maiming, or death of observers or bystanders. Animals do not fall under this clause, meaning that a hunting competition is permissible, but a human spree killing competition is not. Most trials can be set up so as to not lead to harm, and merely the possibility of harm does not necessarily exclude an option.

2. The Trial must have a clear and concise winner. Events or competitions where a winner can be subjective (ie the arts, attractiveness, etc) are not allowed.

3. The Trial cannot be concluded by purely random means. If a Trial is deemed to be decided almost entirely by random measures (ie a coin flip, rolling dice) then it is invalid. On the contrary, some card games may be allowed as they require a certain measure of skill to succeed at, and some gambling games such as horse racing may also be allowed.

As long as those three guidelines are followed, the Trial is almost entirely fair game. Alongside this, the defendant may, if he feels he is unable to do the challenge, name a champion to play or fight in his stead. The champion's ability in the chosen game will be tested, and the government can make adjustments for its representative at will. The court has up to one month to acquire a suitable representative. If, after one month, no suitable representative has been found, the prosecutor will act in place regardless of ability.

A Trial by Contest is rarely invoked in modern day Prospera, due to the massive population the government can draw on for representatives. Of all the recent Trial by Contests invoked, every one of them ended in a guilty verdict, and most were simply attempted suicide by trial. From time to time, a Prospector will act as a champion or representative, which always decides the result immediately.

It remains in the judicial code as a nod to Prosperan traditions, and oft a high-class Trial by Contest can be a large media event.