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Champmathieu is a poor, uneducated man who unfortunately resembles Jean Valjean so much that he is identified, tried, and almost convicted as Valjean. Champmathieu proves to be too dim-witted to defend himself successfully, revealing the callousness of the French justice system.
Champmathieu was described to be about the same height as Valjean and also almost had the same features. When the police question him about being Valjean, he denies it, and pleaded that he was only a poor wheelwright who happened to pick a fallen branch with apples on it (as he was accused of thievery). Three convicts, Brevet, Cochepaille and Chenildieu, sentenced to prison for life, recognized him as being Valjean. Monsieur Madeleine (Valjean in disguise) arrives in the courtroom in Arras and reveals that he is Jean Valjean, saving Champmathieu from being convicted. He is poor