UK SRA overcharges its lawyers millions
In a scandal that must be sending shivers through Australian law societies and bars the nation over, the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has been forced to apologise for overcharging 36,000 of its member solicitors.
According to website RollOnFriday, the SRA has admitted to pulling in between £50 ($117) and £100 ($234) worth of excessive charges, totalling approximately £3.5 ($8.2) million.
The mistake arose when solicitors were requested by the SRA to contribute £250 rather than £200, or £500 rather than £400 to the compensation fund, the website said.
The chief executive of the SRA, Antony Townsend, put the error down to a mishap of administration, adding that the “matter has been reported to the Law Society’s Audit Committee, who will be supervising a review to see why the mistake occurred and why it was not identified sooner,” the website said.
US teenager caught abusing horse
A perverted teenager from Oregon has found himself in jail after CCTV footage caught him making love to an unconsenting horse in a barn.
According to the Corvallis Gazette-Times, the security equipment was installed in the barn by the farm’s owners after similar attacks on the horse. The owners reported the first abuse on July 2006, when they found the mare’s halter had been removed. They then installed video cameras, which recorded a male returning to the barn in February of this year to repeat the attack.
Deputy Clay Stephens, who viewed the video tape, believed the teenager was “very practiced, not hurried but not wasting any time. Stephens said he seemed to be following a ‘very concise, deliberate, well-thought-out plan’,” the paper said.
Not wishing for their mare to be assaulted a third time, the owners installed a silent alarm, which went off at 2.30am on 7 June. They rushed to a monitor where they were horrified to see the teenager preparing to mount the horse again, and called police.
The teen was swiftly arrested, and now faces charges of sexual abuse of an animal and burglary, the paper said.
Resident attacked with swordfish nose
People in other, less sunny states are often of the opinion that things are done differently in Queensland.
Take for instance a home invasion last week, where the assailants assaulted a resident with not a knife or a gun, but the severed nose of a swordfish, the Courier-Mail reported.
According to police, two men stormed a caravan in Bundaberg where a 40-year-old man was inside. They attacked the resident with the fish’s appendage, before making their escape. Paramedics were called to dress wounds to the victim’s hands, arms and back.
A Bundaberg police spokesman, theorising on the origin of the fish-weapon, said “they’re the sort of things you find hanging on a wall, as a trophy”, the paper reported.
Folklaw wonders whether the assailants planned for the attack after reading the following excerpt from know-it-all website Wikipedia.com: “Contrary to belief the ‘sword’ is not used to spear, but instead may be used to slash at its prey in order to injure the prey animal, to make for an easier catch”.
Cheating student causes terror scare
A student of medicine in Bulgaria found himself the subject of a secret service manhunt when he nicked his father’s walkie talkie equipment in order to cheat on an exam.
The incident happened during a visit by President George W Bush, when the whole country was on high terror alert, the UK Metro reported.
Crack secret service troops, who use similar communications equipment, found their airwaves being interrupted by an unauthorised broadcast, possibly initiated by the henchmen of Osama Bin Laden.
After the alarm was raised, a collection of armed police and US spooks traced the broadcast to the Medical University in Sofia, where they found a friend of cheater Georghe Dimitrov huddled in the toilets, transmitting facts on physiology.
Dimitrov was arrested and jailed overnight while an investigation was launched, leading police to trace the stolen equipment to his secret service father. Not only did Dimitrov fail his exam, but he was also charged with using a radio frequency without a licence.
Russian Robocop fizzes in the rain
When officer Alex J Murphy was transformed into crime fighting cyborg, Robocop, sporting brilliant lines such as “dead or alive, you’re coming with me”, we were permitted to dream of an age when robotic police ruled the streets with iron fists.
Well dream no more, for the Russians have developed their very own Robocop — a six-foot egg-shaped contraption with four wheels, looking not unlike a short, fat space rocket.
The Russian robot has been hailed as the first of a revolutionary new crime fighting force according to website Ananova.com. With video cameras, sensors and automated voice commands, the robot was unleashed on the unsuspecting Russian public to the delight of police in Perm.
The only problem is the machine isn’t fully waterproof. Within hours of striking fear in the hearts of criminals everywhere, rain leaked into the circuitry of the robot and rendered it useless. This model was reportedly only a prototype though, with more to be expected in the coming years.
Bank manager steals from rich, gives to poor
A modern day Robin Hood — German bank manager Peter Taubinger — has been jailed after a court found he had stolen 2.2 ($3.5) million ¤from wealthy clients and spread it amongst poorer ones crippled with debt.
Acting from a bank in the town of Tauberfranken, Taubinger took pity on pensioners, single mothers, the ill and unemployed, so he propped up their accounts with thousands of stolen euros, website Ananova.com said.
“I felt for the unemployed and the poor and wanted to help them,” the bank manager said.
Unfortunately the court didn’t feel quite as compassionate, finding Taubinger guilty of 168 charges of embezzlement and sentencing him to 34 months in jail.
Lawyer begins defending alien abductees
Yet another pearl from Ananova.com should have the legal world relishing the possibilities, with the news that a lawyer, dedicated to supporting those who have endured alien abductions, has launched his first case.
Jens Lorek has given away the more mystical practise of industrial law to seek damages for abductees. His fist client, hotel chef Paul Hoffmann, 23, claims he was snatched by other worldly creatures and has suffered accordingly.
“About two years ago a cross-shaped space ship sucked me up and took me to space,” Hoffman said. “When I came around, it was daylight again.” Hoffman could not recall what the aliens looked like, but claimed to have been “manipulated” by them and returned to his earthly home as an “apprentice shaman”. Fair enough.
“I was supposed to bless the city for the arrival of further aliens,” the victim said. Some of the duties he performed in his new role were to close his bank account, squat in Dresden and bathe naked in a municipal fountain. While engaging in some naked, alien-ordered bicycling, Hoffman was arrested and sent to a psychiatric ward.
The man’s lawyer is suing the city for what he claims were the wrongful actions of the police. “There are no legal grounds to put somebody in a psychiatric hospital because he was a victim of aliens,” Lorek argued. “The state is socially responsible — even for alien shamans — if they cannot protect them from abduction.”
Shocking specifics were also listed by Lorek: “Aliens stick needles in their victims’ genitals and interfere with their organs. Since 1961 there have been tens of thousands of alien abductions”.