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The Department of Mysteries is a place where the Ministry of Magic investigates into various mysteries of life (and death!). There are rooms for cognition, time, prophecy, death and more. In one of the rooms, they keep the Veil.

Who is responsible for Sirius Black's death?

Obviously, Bellatrix Lestrange didn't kill him because the spell wasn't Avada Kedavra. The veil is to be blamed. I read that the veil separates the world of the living from that of the dead. So, Sirius fell to his death. He moved beyond the veil. But the veil wouldn't have been there if it hadn't been for the mad experiments and meddlings with death that the Ministry conducted.

So, is the Ministry responsible for Sirius's death? After the Dark Lord was defeated [or destroyed], did they stop messing with things that could take lives just like that?

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    A) Bellatrix killed him with some curse - it is known for curses other than Avada Kedavra to kill people if aimed correctly (see her own death); B) Ministry did not create the Veil, it was there before the ministry existed. Who to blame? Harry "Imma save everyone" bloody Potter. Apr 28, 2017 at 10:03
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    In the film, she does actually cast Avada Kedavra at Sirius, and he technically dies before he even hits the veil. In the book, it's some unidentified curse (though the description fits Stupefy). But either way, had Bellatrix not hit him, he wouldn't have fallen into the veil. Apr 28, 2017 at 10:10
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    @MathEnthusiast - As Gallifreyan said, the ministry didn't invent it.
    – ibid
    Apr 28, 2017 at 10:14
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    Bellatrix cast some spell that pushed him through the veil. So she is responsible.
    – TimSparrow
    Apr 28, 2017 at 10:30
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    "[The Veil]'s been there as long as the Ministry itself." - J. K. Rowling Apr 28, 2017 at 10:50

1 Answer 1

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With the proviso that we don't actually know how wizarding law works, the very short answer is that Sirius' death would be classed in UK law as an industrial accident that occurred as a result of an attack by Bellatrix. The incident had limited liability for the Ministry of Magic.

Sirius broke into a government testing facility in order to prevent the theft of Government property. Since he was acting in the Public Interest to prevent the commissioning of a crime, his own crime (that of trespass) would be forgiven. The Death Eaters would have direct liability for his murder and the Ministry would (probably) receive a fine from the Health and Safety Executive. Although they had no expectation of intruders, leaving a dangerous artifact protected by only a single door is certainly ill-advised.

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    Now I'm imagining a sign on the wall: "ALL UNSPEAKABLES: PLEASE WEAR TENTACLE-PROOF SAFETY ROBES IN THE BRAIN ROOM ~~~ DANGER -- HYPNOTIC WHISPERS OF THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED BEYOND THE VEIL -- DON'T FORGET YOUR EARPLUGS Apr 28, 2017 at 10:39
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    @TimSparrow - The UK doesn't have first and second degree murder charges and manslaughter doesn't apply because her goal was to seriously injure.
    – Valorum
    Apr 28, 2017 at 10:40
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    "leaving a dangerous artifact protected by only a single door is certainly ill-advised" - Ahem. Fluffy. Apr 28, 2017 at 18:43
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    @DVK-on-Ahch-To - The H&S Executive would throw their hands up in disgust at the world of Harry Potter. Wands for children? What could possibly go wrong?
    – Valorum
    Apr 28, 2017 at 18:56
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    @TimSparrow Interestingly, that's the exact required mental state for murder in England: malice aforethought, which means intention to kill (express intent), or intention to cause grievous bodily harm (implied intent).
    – JBentley
    Apr 30, 2017 at 13:54

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