One of the items that bothered me about the Harry Potter movies was the scene in Order of the Phoenix, where Harry is chasing Bellatrix Lestrange, after she had killed Sirius Black. As Harry chases her, he fires off one of the unforgivable curses -- the Cruciatus curse. It's enough to get her to stop initially, and she notes you have to really mean to harm the other person. The problem is that Harry has just performed, purposefully, one of the so-called unforgivable curses. He is still under the watchful eye of the Ministry of Magic, and they would've known exactly what spell was used. Back in Prisoner of Azkaban, Ms. Hopkirk sent a note that Harry was to be expelled because someone performed a hover charm. Here we can see that they can detect magic use, and they can detect exactly what spell was used.
Harry should have been sent to prison, if these curses live up to their reputation. It does not matter what the background was, these cannot be overlooked. I believe Steve Kloves really dropped the ball on this point when he adapted the script.