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Folklaw: 27 October 2006

Folklaw: 27 October 2006

Do you take this boy?Having been to three in the last month, I can say with some authority that weddings make people do crazy things. But not once, at any of these celebrations of love, did I…

Do you take this boy?

Having been to three in the last month, I can say with some authority that weddings make people do crazy things. But not once, at any of these celebrations of love, did I witness anything to match the mind-boggling behaviour of Marcy Gant, of Iowa.

In negotiating for a wedding dress from a somewhat dubious ‘street salesman’, the 31-year-old bride and mother found herself lacking in funds. It was then that she struck on the idea of offering her son, aged four, to satisfy the debt.

“During negotiations for the payment of this wedding dress, on at least two occasions, [Gant] offered her four-year-old son as collateral,” said police spokesman Capt. Dave Struckman, of the Davenport Police Department.

Having only paid half the bill at that point, she suggested numerous times that ownership of her son could cover the US$200 ($265) still outstanding.

“She said, ‘Why don’t you take my four-year-old and we’ll call it even?’,” Struckman claimed.

After appearing before the magistrate to answer the charges against her, Gant was immediately ordered into treatment for her mental health.

“I think that’s a good idea, because if you were in your right mind you wouldn’t be doing this,” Judge Mary Howes told the woman unlikely to get a gong for ‘Mother of the Year’. If convicted, Gant could be jailed for up to 10 years.

Chinese commuters cranky as ads hit rock bottom

Australian lawyers annoyed with the quality of public transport should be glad they don’t live in Beijing.

The local television and radio authority has outlawed advertisements for anal and intestinal medical treatment from being broadcasted during morning bus trips, Beijing News reported.

The ban was made after commuters complained that their appetites were being spoiled by the private hospital ads. Apparently a description of anal and intestinal abnormalities isn’t the sort of thing the average person wants to hear while enjoying their breakfast.

Medical ads must now not be shown between 7am and 9am under the ban. In their place, commercials to promote the Beijing Olympic and Commonwealth games have been added, said to be easier on the stomach.

According to Beijing News, mobile television sets in public buses have become very popular around the city. Private hospitals are particularly drawn to the medium, as they have no access to China’s social security system, and so rely heavily on advertising to promote their services, however distasteful they may appear.

German to probe government over alien abductions

Whenever a breach of justice occurs, lawyers aren’t far behind — at times litigating where no man has gone before. Perhaps this is why one brave German lawyer has opened a practice with the sole aim of winning justice for victims of alien abductions.

Dresden lawyer Jens Lorek believes alien visitations are not only a frequent occurrence, but may give rise to legitimate claims of compensation, similar to laws that allow kidnapping victims access to the public purse.

Lorek, who specialises in the more earthly practice of German social and labour law in his spare time, said that along with compensation from the state, abduction victims may also be awarded money for medical treatment and drugs — although he wouldn’t be drawn on whether this treatment would remedy ‘backdoor examinations’, known to be a favourite investigative technique of little green men.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, business isn’t booming for Lorek. He suggested that although “there’s quite obviously a demand for legal advice. The trouble is, people are afraid of making fools of themselves in court”.

But Lunar Lorek believes it is no laughing matter. “Nobody has laughed about it up until now,” he said, his suspicious gaze straying to the heavens above.

Pretty in pink uniforms

Perhaps in a sign of things to come, a US prison has found that forcing inmates to wear pink uniforms has reduced re-offending rates and incidence of prison violence.

Small town Mason County’s sheriff, Clint Low, told ABC News that he “wanted to stop re-offenders”.

“They don’t want to wear them,” he said. “Working inmates get a choice to work outside or sit inside, and some choose to sit inside because they don’t want people to see them. They would rather stay upstairs.”

Low didn’t stop at uniforms either. The colour spread to the bed sheets and towels in the wash, and he even had the prison walls themselves painted pink in order to manufacture an atmosphere of calm.

It seems to working too. Low claimed that re-offending rates in the county are down 70 per cent since the pink makeover was made, and that there have been no fights between prisoners.

“It’s a good deterrent because I don’t want to wear them anymore,” an inmate told ABC News. “I’m not going outside in these things.”

Mother & son fake kidnapping to fleece father

A cash-strapped mother in Spain faked the kidnapping of her son not once but four times, in order to bleed ransom money from her husband from whom she is separated.

According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the scam netted the woman more than 1 million ($1,665,180). The father had paid the amount over the first three abductions, but on the fourth occasion he became suspicious, and hired a private detective to investigate the matter.

It was soon discovered that the rort involved the mother and five accomplices. The son, aged 15, was also involved in the scam, having called his father during the abductions and pleaded for the money, lest he be harmed, the newspaper said. Police from the city of Seville busted the syndicate soon after. The case continues.

Gas leak in British court puts teen in contempt

In a follow up to our story of a flatulent Polish man in Issue 311 of Lawyers Weekly, this week’s edition of Folklaw brings news of an equally gassy British teenager, thrown in the brig for farting in court.

Joseph Wildy was appearing before magistrate Simon Bridge on charges of handling stolen goods. Yet, before the matter could be dealt with, Wildy let rip in the Blackpool court and then collapsed into a fit of giggling.

The outraged judge demanded he apologise, but Wildy refused. He was promptly found in contempt of court and given 90 minutes to bathe in his own amusement in the cells. When Wildy eventually returned and apologised, he pleaded not guilty and was granted bail.

“He was laughing in court, that’s why he was found in contempt,” a spokeswoman for the court said. “It was for interrupting the proceedings by laughing, and then refusing to apologise.”

The Pole, and now Wildy, have clearly established that there is no place for flatulence in the law.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Folklaw: 27 October 2006
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