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In Chamber of Secrets, Harry sees that Hagrid was accused of opening the Chamber through the memory stored in Voldemort’s diary. Hagrid is expelled from school, but Dumbledore allows him to stay on the grounds as Gamekeeper.

In later years, when everybody (surely Dumbledore) finds out that Tom Riddle become Voldemort and that he must have opened the Chamber, not Hagrid, was Hagrid acquitted of his alleged crimes?

  • The wording of the question irritates me, so I want to state that it is Harry who finds out in his second year who really opened the Chamber of Secrets and only afterwards does Hagrid become acquitted. This is 50 years after the chamber had been opened the first time and it also means that Hagrid lived under this accusation for 50 years. – chaosflaws Dec 22 '14 at 22:13
  • Do you have an alternative explanation? – user35971 Dec 22 '14 at 23:36
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Yes, Hagrid was acquitted of the suspicions and charges against him:

It was a delicious feast; the Hall echoed with talk, laughter and the clatter of knives and forks. Harry, Ron and Hermione, however, were eager for it to finish so that they could talk to Hagrid. They knew how much being made a teacher would mean to him. Hagrid wasn’t a fully qualified wizard; he had been expelled from Hogwarts in his third year, for a crime he had not committed. It had been Harry, Ron and Hermione who had cleared Hagrid’s name last year.
Prisoner of Azkaban - page 72 - Bloomsbury - chapter five, The Dementor

Short and simple: Yes, Hagrid was acquitted.

  • Also, he could become a teacher only because his name was cleared. I think Hagrid mentions that to Ron, Harry, and Hermione, and sound very grateful to them. – voldemort Dec 22 '14 at 17:26
16

Yes and no.

  • Was he acquitted before the events of Chamber of Secrets?

    No, I believe not. Very few people besides Dumbledore knew that Tom Riddle and Voldemort were the same person, even after his rise to power. As Dumbledore explains to Harry at the end of the book:

    “Hardly anyone connected Lord Voldemort with the clever, handsome boy who was once Head Boy here.”

    Chamber of Secrets, chapter 18 (Dobby’s Reward)

    So very few people went over Riddle’s school days looking for the work of Voldemort-in-waiting, and even if you found something, it’d be quite a job to prove it.

    Further, as Cornelius Fudge explains when he arrests Hagrid, the official record still points a finger for the original killing firmly at Hagrid:

    “Look, Albus,” said Fudge, uncomfortably. “Hagrid’s record’s against him. Ministry’s got to do something — the school governors have been in touch —”

    Chamber of Secrets, chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge)

    If Hagrid had since been acquitted, there would be no justification for arresting him now. It follows that he’s still considered responsible for opening the Chamber in the 1942 school year.

    And as Harry surmises, Hagrid as the guilty party nicely matches up with the course of events:

    “We always knew Hagrid had been expelled,” said Harry miserably. “And the attacks must’ve stopped after Hagrid was kicked out. Otherwise, Riddle wouldn’t have got his award.”

    Chamber of Secrets, chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge)

    The case was open-and-shut. Nobody was looking for an alternative explanation, because the facts seemed to fit. (Prejudice against Hagrid for being half-giant probably counted against him as well.)

  • Was he acquitted after the events of Chamber of Secrets?

    Yes, it seems so. The diary seems to act as sufficient proof that Ginny was not acting of her own free will in 1992, and could then be used to suggest that Tom Riddle framed Hagrid in his school years (recall that Dumbledore always suspected Tom, but all he lacked was proof):

    “Well?” said Mr. Malfoy sharply. “Who is it?”

    “The same person as last time, Lucius,” said Dumbledore. “But this time, Lord Voldemort was acting through somebody else. By means of this diary.”

    Chamber of Secrets, chapter 18 (Dobby’s Reward)

    Since Ginny suffers no punishment, and Hagrid is released from Azkaban shortly afterwards, it seems that this proof was accepted by the Ministry.

    Further recall that he only becomes a teacher in Prisoner of Azkaban, which fits with the idea that he’s been acquitted – the Ministry might have tolerated a convict as a Gamekeeper, but a teaching placement, less so – alongside this JK Rowling quote which sounds as if his punishment was lifted at the same time:

    Since Hagrid's name was cleared in Book 2, will he ever be allowed to do magic openly again?

    He is allowed. He has been allowed to do magic openly ever since he became a teacher but because he was never fully trained his magic is never going to be what it should be. He is always going to be a bit inept.

    Interview with JK Rowling, South West News Service, July 2000 (Accio Quote)

  • I agree with most of this. However, the diary was not part of the proof. See the quote at scifi.stackexchange.com/q/23245/4918 and scifi.stackexchange.com/a/46545/4918 – b_jonas Dec 22 '14 at 10:41
  • If Hagrid was not acquitted before the book (which I believe is accurate), why wasn't he sent to Azkaban? They seem to still hold him responsible, but then why was expulsion his only punishment? – Ozymandias Dec 22 '14 at 17:07
  • My own assumption (no idea if it's supported) was that the expulsion was, more or less, a type of settlement. I don't know the burden of proof that the wizarding world purports to work under, but I assume they didn't have enough evidence to prove that Hagrid opened the chamber beyond all reasonable doubt, but they all assumed the same thing (perhaps with a dissenting opinion from Dumbledore), and kicked him out of school as their "best option". But, after Voldemort's first rise and the chamber opening a 2nd time, they threw that standard aside during the events of CoS and put him away anyway. – Jason Dec 22 '14 at 21:09
  • @Ozymandias: Probably his age? – ruakh Dec 22 '14 at 22:57

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