I think Dumbledore did believe at the time of Harry's parents' deaths that Black was guilty. So he didn't stand up for Black. But during the course of events in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, could Dumbledore have independently figured out that Black was innocent and this was merely confirmed by Harry. This would make sense Dumbledore, being a very intelligent man, wouldn't normally believe something without strong proof. Is there any evidence in the books for the same?

  • What I mean is, in PoA Dumbledore visits the Hospital wing and says something like "innocent lives can be spared". This made me suspect that the wise headmaster already figured out Black's innocence. – Valandil Mar 14 '15 at 23:35
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    Just before that he speaks with Harry; "But you believe us" "Yes, I do," said Dumbledore quietly.. That appears to be the point at which he realised that Sirius was innocent. – Valorum Mar 14 '15 at 23:39
  • But shouldn't Dumbledore have had some reason other than the word of the children alone to believe it?Especially since Severus Snape gave evidence against Black? – Valandil Mar 14 '15 at 23:50
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    Leaving aside the fact that he trusts Harry and Hermione implicitly, I think it was more a case of everything suddenly falling into place, a "lightbulb moment" my granny used to call them. – Valorum Mar 15 '15 at 0:01
  • This is not a duplicate of the linked question. That question, and its answers, deal with Sirius's original conviction; this question is about whether Dumbledore could have changed his view during the events of Prisoner of Azkaban. – Alex May 27 '19 at 20:18

At first, yes!

Dumbledore actually testified that Sirius Black was their Secret-Keeper (via the Fidelius Charm). Therefore, he must have initially believed in Sirius's guilt.

I myself gave evidence to the Ministry that Sirius had been the Potters' Secret-Keeper.

Eventually, though, he comes around:

“But you believe us.”

“Yes, I do,” said Dumbledore quietly. “But I have no power to make other men see the truth, or to overrule the Minister of Magic...”

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