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Folklaw 22 September 2006

Folklaw 22 September 2006

Shooting for justice in SpainEver wanted to tell a judge exactly what you think of him or her? A Basque separatist prisoner did just that when he threatened to shoot and skin alive the…

Shooting for justice in Spain

Ever wanted to tell a judge exactly what you think of him or her?

A Basque separatist prisoner did just that when he threatened to shoot and skin alive the presiding judge hearing his court case. Unsurprisingly, the man was before this particular judge on charges of threatening to kill another one, Reuters said.

Ignacio Javier Bilbao Goikoetxea is a convicted murdered with an allegiance to the separatist group ETA. He had previously threatened to kill Judge Baltasar Garzon, and faces fresh charges for his promise of violence towards Judge Alfonso Guevara.

During the trial, Bilbao Goikoetxea kicked the bulletproof screen in the dock, hurling a verbal tirade at both Guevara and Garzon, who was appearing as a witness.

“If you’re a man, come here,” he said invitingly to the judge.

“I’m going to skin you alive. Come here if you’ve got the balls ... I look forward to shooting you seven times when I get my hands on you.”

This occasion was the second time he had been tried for threatening Garzon, after being jailed for two years at a previous trial. Bilbao Goikoetxea is partway through a 45-year sentence for murdering a local government councillor in 2002.

“I believe in the armed struggle. I will continue with the armed fight until I die or I’m killed, until we have won an independent Basque homeland,” he also informed the judges.

Travelling at blinding speed

Regular Folklaw readers, who often suspect the inconsiderate drivers they share the road with must be blind, should take note of the following story from West Midlands in Britain.

Omed Aziz was arrested and convicted of reckless driving after police found his car on the wrong side of the road, made all the more alarming by the fact that Aziz has no eyes.

The 31-year-old Iraqi-born man, who lost both of his eyes in a horrific bomb blast, was attempting to drive with the help of a passenger, Dlear Ahmed. Ahmed, who was not himself driving as he is allegedly banned from holding a licence, is now facing separate charges over the incident.

Aziz had travelled for half a mile, sometimes reaching speeds of up to 35mph (56km/h).

Having to be assisted into the Warley Magistrates’ Court at Oldury, West Midlands, Aziz refuted claims that he was driving dangerously. Along with having no eyes, he is also partly deaf and suffers from bouts of to leg tremors.

“[Aziz] was fully aware of his disabilities and we find the driver was in a dangerous, defective state,” Richard Knight, chairman of the bench at Warley Magistrates Court said.

The police constable who made the arrest, Glyn Austin, told the court that he “attempted to speak to the driver, who appeared to be fumbling around with the controls”.

“At that point the passenger leaned across and stated, ‘He’s blind’”.

Swept off their feet

A Swedish man is accused of stealing socks and shoes off the feet of women in wheelchairs.

The 39-year-old from southern Sweden allegedly forced a handicapped woman into a building, rolled her into a closet and then relieved her of a sock and a shoe.

He is also accused of trying to rob a disabled woman of a sock and shoe in an elevator. Fortunately, the woman activated an alarm at the time, which frightened the man away.

“The man is also suspected of stealing socks from stores,” said police spokesman Torbjörn Carlson, according to Expressen.

A police search of the man’s house turned up hundreds of pairs of socks and many shoes.

No puppy love for dead chihuahua

An American woman displeased with the untimely death of her Chihuahua puppy has been found guilty of misdemeanour assault and trespassing.

The woman from St Louis, Lisa Hopfer, 34, chose to communicate her feelings to the dog breeder, Linda Hulsey, from whom she purchased the animal, by breaking into her house and beating Hulsey in the head with the dog’s corpse.

Hopfer claims that Hulsey told her the puppy was six weeks old when she bought it, but a veterinarian confirmed it was only four weeks, and too young to be separated from its mother. Before she had the chance to reunite the canine family, the puppy died.

Police said that an enraged Hopfer forced her way into Hulsey’s home, took the puppy from a plastic bag and struck Hulsey over the head with it. Hulsey claimed that she was assaulted up to 30 times with the dead dog.

Hopfer has since replaced the dog with another Chihuahua. “She’s doing great,” she said, which Folklaw takes to mean it has not been used as a weapon yet.

Hopfer could be sent to jail for 18 months or face a US$1,500 ($1,996) fine.

Caught in the act, twice over

A young Yorkshire man has been jailed for four months after he blew up a speed camera in the hope of avoiding the loss of his license.

Craig Moore, 28, admitted to destroying the camera with materials from his welding job after he was snapped in Hyde, near Manchester, BBC News reported.

With his licence already near cancellation for an excess of fines, Moore feared that his latest speeding offence would see his licence revoked, and possibly lead to him being sacked.

So later on the night of 14 August 2005, Moore returned to the camera with welding supplies and caused a thermite reaction, which ate through the camera’s metal body in an explosive fire, causing £11,700 ($29,064) worth of damage.

The problem for Moore was that the fire failed to destroy the camera’s hard drive, which left a perfect record of both Moore’s speeding offence and the ensuing vandalism. Police were also able to trace Moore’s vehicle’s movements via its security tracker device.

“Instead of just accepting that he had been caught travelling above the speed limit, Moore decided to blow the camera apart,” police constable Mark Akers, of Greater Manchester Police, said.

“He obviously thought that by destroying the main camera he was destroying all the evidence. But a combination of hard work and the latest technology led to his conviction.”

Granny get your gun

An elderly woman has been arrested in Chicago after a failed attempt to rob a bank at gunpoint.

Melvena Cooke, 79, shuffled into a Loop bank wearing sunglasses and a visor with the word “princess” written on it, and tried to hold up the teller with a toy gun.

“Give me $30,000 [US] ($39,953), my friend is across the street and no red dye,” the crime-savvy geriatric whispered to the teller, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit. The document went on to say that Cooke told the cashier that she had to keep her voice down because she had just come from the dentist.

The female teller responded by triggering the silent alarm and casually walking away from the counter. Cooke was forced to make her getaway empty-handed, only to be arrested in a nearby pharmacy by a passing police officer.

If convicted, Cooke faces up to 20 years in jail, which will take her to her 99th birthday.

Like this story? Read more:

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Folklaw 22 September 2006
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