Galileo gets another day in court

By Lawyers Weekly|03 March 2012

Almost 400 years after his conviction for heresy, one of the world's most famous philosophers, astronomers and scientists is set to have his (second) day in court - this time, he will be…

Almost 400 years after his conviction for heresy, one of the world's most famous philosophers, astronomers and scientists is set to have his (second) day in court - this time, he will be prosecuted by Federal Court judge Anna Katzmann SC.

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Although a little too late for the man himself, the stage has been set for a dramatic re-trial of Italy's Galileo Galilei, and strangely enough, it involves Bob Carr.

Galileo was convicted of Heresy by the Roman Catholic Inquisition in 1633 for brazenly suggesting that Earth was not the centre of the universe and did, in fact, rotate around the sun with a swag of other planets.

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Now, four centuries later, numerous prominent figures will come together for Galileo's re-trial, including Carr, the former NSW Premier, as the Grand Duke of Tuscany, human rights activist and barrister Julian Burnside QC as Galileo's defence counsel, and comedian Julie McCrossin as judge.

Staged by the University of New South Wales and filmed and broadcast by the ABC's Compass, the staged re-trial will feature improvised and unscripted role-playing to determine whether Galileo was justly convicted.

The re‐trial is based on the work of Dr Peter Slezak from UNSW's School of History and Philosophy, and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Las Vegas's University of Nevada, Dr Maurice Finocchiaro.

Both creators have on-stage roles assisting the prosecution and defence counsels, and will join a cast of real-life scientists, barristers, scholars and men of the church to battle it out in what promises to be a colourful courtroom encounter.

Other participants include former priest Dr Paul Collins and leading astronomer Professor Fred Watson who will play Galileo himself.

The re-trial will screen on Sunday 9 May at 10.10pm on ABC1.

Galileo gets another day in court
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