During her trial, Justine testifies that she is innocent. She relates her own version of the events of the fateful night on which William was killed. She had been visiting her aunt's house and was returning home when she met a man who asked her if she had seen a...
During her trial, Justine testifies that she is innocent. She relates her own version of the events of the fateful night on which William was killed. She had been visiting her aunt's house and was returning home when she met a man who asked her if she had seen a lost child. She looked for him for several hours herself and then realized the gates of Geneva had been shut, and she was locked outside. Justine spent most of the night awake in a barn and dozed off around dawn.
Her testimony provides no hint of guilt, and she is certain that she has no clue how William's photograph ended up in her possession. Other witnesses are called to testify to Justine's character. Elizabeth—having grown up in the same house as William and as a loyal friend to Justine—testifies on Justine's behalf, calling her friend "the most amiable and benevolent of human creatures." Despite her testimony and the fact that the only thing linking the kind and gracious Justine to the murder is a photograph belonging to William, they find that
the ballots had been thrown; they were all black, and Justine was condemned.
In the previous chapter, Victor notes:
I was firmly convinced in my own mind that Justine, and indeed every human being, was guiltless of this murder.
He knows that the creature has killed his young brother, and ultimately he bears responsibility for creating this being and then providing no moral compass for the creature to live by. Since he has chosen to hide the creature and his hand in its design from the entire world, he faces a decision at Justine's trial. He can come forth and take responsibility, allowing the innocent Justine to go free, or he can remain quiet and let an innocent woman die.
Victor chooses the latter. He feels immense guilt about his choice:
But I, the true murderer, felt the never-dying worm alive in my bosom, which allowed of no hope or consolation . . . Anguish and despair had penetrated into the core of my heart; I bore a hell within me, which nothing could extinguish.
However, his guilt isn't enough to move him to tell the truth, and he allows Justine to die as a convicted murderess.