Barty Crouch Jr, impersonating Mad-Eye Moody during Goblet of Fire, demonstrated the three Unforgivable curses to the fourth years during Defence Against the Dark Arts. His reasoning behind this:

How are you supposed to defend yourself against something you’ve never seen? A wizard who’s about to put an illegal curse on you isn’t going to tell you what he’s about to do. He’s not going to do it nice and polite to your face. You need to be prepared. You need to be alert and watchful.’

Goblet of Fire - page 187 - Bloomsbury - chapter 14, The Unforgivable Curses

Crouch Jr/Moody also says during Defence class:

‘Now ... those three curses – Avada Kedavra, Imperius and Cruciatus – are known as the Unforgivable Curses. The use of any one of them on a fellow human being is enough to earn a life sentence in Azkaban.’

Goblet of Fire - page 192 - Bloomsbury - chapter 14, The Unforgivable Curses

In class, Moody systematically places each student under the Imperius Curse:

Harry moved forward into the middle of the classroom, into the space that Moody had cleared of desks.

Moody raised his wand, pointed it at Harry, and said, ‘Imperio.’

Goblet of Fire - page 204 - Bloomsbury - chapter 15, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons

Goblet of Fire indicates that Crouch Jr/Moody's lessons were interesting, exciting, and unique -- would word get back to the parents of any of the students that Crouch Jr/Moody was performing the Imperius Curse on their children? Why did Dumbledore allow this?

Why wasn't Crouch Jr/Moody arrested and placed into Azkaban for casting the Imperius Curse on students?

  • There's a touch of ambiguity in Mad Eye's statement: "... is enough to earn a life sentence..." It's not exactly the same as saying that it is a prosecutable crime. Kind of like a law that stipulates harsher penalties for a crime committed with a hand gun.
    – TGnat
    Feb 27, 2013 at 19:34
  • There's ambiguity if you're looking for it. Tales of Beedle the Bard says The Cruciatus, Imperius and Avada Kedavra Curses were first classified as Unforgivable in 1717, with the strictest penalties attached to their use. Aside from the death penalty, I can't think of a stricter penalty than life in prison. I don't believe that mitigating circumstances exist. The only one I can think of is simply not being caught. I'd like to steer away from semantics unless they are blatantly obvious. KWIM? Mar 3, 2013 at 19:39
  • @TGnat: That statement is pretty clear within itself. There's no point on nitpicking on that point. Quibbling over the wording and intent is quite pointless.
    – Tango
    Mar 3, 2013 at 20:16
  • Considering the way Crouch Jr and Moody both act, what evidence is there that this was a 100% literal statement and not an embellishment?
    – user16696
    Dec 7, 2014 at 4:27

3 Answers 3


So we know that Dumbledore allowed Moody to do this.

I don't have evidence, but I think Dumbledore let him do it because there really was no harm - and also, the "victims"pretty much gave Moody permission to do it on them.

From Dumbledore's point of view,

  • No one gets hurt (as far as I'm concerned, a couple Imperius curses won't damage your brain)
  • The students give Moody permission
    • I say this because I believe Hermione was angry with Moody, and he told her to leave the classroom if she didn't want to see more. I don't think Moody could force anyone.
    • Also, come on, if you didn't want to have the curse casted on you, you simply move aside instead of letting him do it on you.
  • It would be a valuable experience for Harry, given that he's most likely going to fight against dark magic in the near future.

Sure, the Ministry has rules, but we're talking about Dumbledore - we've seen him not approving of the Ministry many times ;)

  • 14
    I would tend to agree. You are not allowed to simply hit me. However, if I agree to get in a boxing ring with you and spar, then I have tacitly given you permission to strike at me. Assuming the students gave permission, this would be okay. One caveat, however. It could be argued that a student, specifically a minor, would not have the legal capacity to grant permission to an instructor. In that case, a teacher, even with permission, could possibly be prosecuted for using the curses. Given that nothing happened to Moody, I would assume the first position was the overriding principle.
    – beichst
    Feb 28, 2013 at 1:40
  • I also think prosecution would only be applicable if the "cursor" forced the "cursee" to do something truly against their will while under the Imperius curse. From what I remember (been a few years since I read the books), it almost more of a game of "Simon says" in the classroom.
    – Doresoom
    Jul 30, 2014 at 21:51
  • 1
    I think it's hard to say "the students give him permission" is enough to bypass the rules. It's not a student-to-student thing - a professor has power over the students, making this at least an abuse of that dominant position. Jan 20, 2016 at 22:22
  • Do we know that Dumbledore gave him permission? Yes, Dumbledore would have probably heard about it through the grapevine as all rumors eventually reach him. But the only person who actually says that Dumbledore gave him permission is Moody. And we know that Moody is a death eater in disguise, so he's not exactly the most honest person. It's possible he told the class he got Dumbledore's permission so he would have an excuse to curse Harry. Sep 20, 2018 at 21:12

It is just like at a police academy where cadets are shown quantities of narcotics so that they can better recognize them in the future - why would all these policemen just let some guys hold drugs?

Oftentimes rules/laws don't quite apply in education and training. Hogwarts does seem to be something of a military academy...

  • 3
    Well, the policemen are supposed to touch those drugs. Students aren't really supposed to have unforgivable curses casted on them :P
    – Saturn
    Feb 28, 2013 at 3:00
  • 4
    Are the cadets allowed to consume the narcotics so they can understand their effects? If so, my local academy might be seeing some recruitment soon...
    – Steam
    Mar 4, 2013 at 15:45
  • 12
    A better comparison is Tasers or Tear gas. Cops and Military personal are often shot by both as part of their training. Otherwise Improper/Unwarranted/Illegal use of a Taser and Tear Gas on a person is illegal.
    – user16696
    Dec 7, 2014 at 4:29

He would have. But there's the fact that:

he died.

  • 1
    I know this is a popular series that's been around for a bit, but there is a spoiler-tag.
    – Solemnity
    Feb 28, 2013 at 6:25
  • 8
    There was plenty of time for him to go to Azkaban before that happened. I think he had many classes and many months after that incident.
    – Saturn
    Feb 28, 2013 at 18:06
  • 2
    @Voldemort: Oftentimes, what happens at Hogwarts stays at Hogwarts.
    – EvilSnack
    Jul 24, 2016 at 20:30
  • 2
    Also, technically, he didn't.
    – Kababage
    Mar 30, 2017 at 15:47
  • He didn't. He suffered the kiss. But I agree that you are correct. By the time the ministry found out he had done this, it was impractical to punish him further. Sep 20, 2018 at 21:13

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