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Folklaw 21 July 2006

Folklaw 21 July 2006

Flat-foots fall into strife over flat whitesTwo Croatian police officers have landed in hot water after allowing an apprehended man to buy them coffee, enabling his escape. The career criminal,…

Flat-foots fall into strife over flat whites

Two Croatian police officers have landed in hot water after allowing an apprehended man to buy them coffee, enabling his escape.

The career criminal, Muzevic, wanted for more than 95 offences, was captured on the island of Korcula after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of grievous bodily harm.

After effecting the arrest, the two as yet unnamed officers made the questionable decision of permitting the 31-year-old man to shout them coffee at a passing café. But having settled the bill, an unattended Muzevic managed to sneak out the back entrance and flee into the safety of a nearby forest.

The two policemen have been suspended while an investigation is conducted into the incident, with the likelihood of further disciplinary action high. Folklaw regrets that it cannot report whether any donuts were harmed in the course of the escape.

g The dingo’s gone to ebay

News from the Top End reveals the ‘weeping juror’, Yvonne Cain, has been barred from selling on eBay notes relating to Lindy Chamberlain’s trial for the death of her daughter, Azaria, in 1982.

Territory police are investigating whether the offer for sale contravenes legislation, particularly provisions of the Juries Act which forbid the publication of jury deliberations, said Northern Territory News.

Cain, reputedly a friend of Chamberlain (now Chamberlain-Creighton), removed the notes from ebay at the request of local authorities — the highest bid at that time being $A2480.

Police claimed the notes — 81 pages in total, including her summons and plane tickets — may not be Cain’s property.

According to Cain, it was Chamberlain-Creighton herself, along with her partner Rick Creighton, who encouraged the sale during a recent get-together.

"At that time, Rick was saying to me: 'Do know your notes would be worth between $40,000 and $50,000?'”

Chamberlain-Creighton added, "Go for it, Yvonne. Go for it."

Whether indeed she does is a question yet to be answered.

Catch her if you can

It’s no longer safe to stroll down the footpaths of South Island, New Zealand.

89-year-old June Bridgman recently entered a guilty plea for the careless operation of a mobility scooter. She ran over a pedestrian twice before fleeing the scene, it is alleged, though the driver is adamant it was not an incident of hit and run.

The Blenheim District Court felt a penalty of $NZ2,000 ($A1,633) was appropriate compensation for the aggrieved Picton resident, 71-year-old Elva Ellison, who had recovered in hospital from surgery on a broken ankle.

According to The Dominion Post, Ellison claims she was left to watch her assailant’s getaway while she lay stricken on the footpath, Bridgman reportedly fleeing “like a bat out of hell”.

Although there is no evidence to link the 89-year-old to any similar attacks, the Transport Ministry revealed that two New Zealanders have already been killed in mobility scooter-related accidents this year, with a further 50 Kiwis suffering injuries in the last four years.

Tears of joy for perpetrator of assault

A British man had his six-month prison sentence reduced to community service recently after he sobbed in court upon hearing the judge’s verdict, BBC News reported.

Englishman Daniel Hardman, 21, was found guilty of an assault on Christopher Glover, when the licensee of Wheatsheaf pub in Leigh was glassed in the face.

But upon seeing Hardman’s “genuine regret and remorse”, Justice Denis Clark chose to offer a reduced sentence of 200 hours of community service, despite the fact that the attack was witnessed by the licensee’s children.

The aptly named Hardman later confessed he had wept for himself, not for his victim. According to him, the decision was more than reasonable:

"I don't deserve to be in prison. At least I don't think so, not with what people get away with nowadays," he said.

Understandably, Glover had a different view of Hardman’s tactical use of “the waterworks in court”.

"I did things by the book, and he's totally got away with it. That's British justice for you," he said.

Not everyone wants to ‘Be like Mike’

Could the famous 1992 Gatorade commercial be wrong? Kgw.com has reported Portland resident Allen Heckard is suing basketball star Michael Jordan and Nike for a total of $US832 million. The excessive damages are said to be in compensation for the ongoing hardship Heckard has suffered for physically resembling Jordan.

“I'm constantly being accused of looking like Michael and it makes it very uncomfortable for me.”

According to Heckard, Nike founder Phil Knight is liable for defamation and permanent injury for his part in making Jordan a household name. The star athlete is being personally sued for same wrongs, as well as emotional pain and suffering.

For over 15 years, Heckard has been forced to endure the agony of being confused for his look-alike, Jordan.

"I figure if I'm out in public and around a lot of people at least three or four times out of a crowd … and like I was at the Blues Festival and you could see people they was pointing at me."

Asked how he arrived at the rather generous amount of damages, Heckard had this to say:

"Well, you figure with my age and you multiply that times seven and ah, then I turn around and ah I figure that's what it all boils down to." Enough said.

Sacked alcoholic loses benefits after drinking ethanol

Cory Neddermeyer, 42, of Iowa, lost his unemployment benefits in a failed discrimination claim following his retrenchment from an ethanol plant after an almost fatal dose of automobile fuel.

The recovering alcoholic had a near death experience when he swallowed the 190-proof fluid on the sly while working at Amaizing Energy in Denison, Iowa. He was hospitalised with a ridiculously high blood alcohol reading of 0.72; 14.4 times the Australian driving limit and twice what is expected to kill the average adult.

Neddermeyer consumed the fuel when he found an unexpected spill had been caught in a holding pond at the plant. When asked why he succumbed to temptation, the maintenance technician had this to say:

"I am a recovering alcoholic, and I thought about the availability of this alcohol throughout the day."

Eventually the surplus of free booze got the better of him.

"Curious about the taste and its effects, I dipped into this lake of liquor and drank what I considered to be two to three ounces,” Neddermeyer wrote in an official statement. “The next thing I remember is waking up in Crawford County Memorial Hospital."

At the hearing, his boss, Jeff Bruck, was flabbergasted by his employee’s actions.

"This is a fuel alcohol," the plant manager told the court. "This is an explosive product."

The matter came to court when Neddermeyer entered a claim for unemployment benefits. He asserted that Amaizing Energy was jointly responsible for his intoxication because the spill had provided him with an opportunity to drink alcohol. That he was subsequently fired was, in his opinion, a case of discrimination against an employee obviously suffering from the disease of alcoholism.

Justice Hillary had this to say:

"The employer has a right to expect employees not to drink the fuel. Just because some of the ethanol leaked onto the floor is not a good reason for the claimant to drink automobile fuel."

Neddermeyer’s claim was comprehensively denied. When asked why he had tucked in to the potentially lethal fuel, he replied:

"I don't have a good explanation for that. Curiosity?"

The man admitted to having struggled with alcoholism for over a decade.

"Things were going pretty well until that day at work," he lamented.

Soup scams backfire in the Land of Opportunity

In a pair of separate, equally repugnant incidents, two Americans have been exposed in their attempts to engineer claims against food providers.

The first, and certainly worst of the two involves a 40-year-old father, William Allen Cunningham from Georgia, America, who repeatedly poisoned his children in an effort to extort cash from soup-retailing giant Campbells.

The son and daughter, aged three years and eighteen months respectively, had to be hospitalised on three occasions after Cunningham laced their meals with toxic substances, including, on the last attempt, a cocktail of Prozac and Amitriptyline (a tricyclic antidepressant drug with serious side effects). This resulted in his youngest being flown to hospital via air ambulance and both children being treated for a week.

A federal grand jury recently indicted the man on charges of tampering with consumer products, mail and wire fraud and the communication of a false statement that the product had been negligently affected. Cunningham faces a maximum gaol term of 75 years and a fine of up to $1.5 million.

According to U.S. Attorney David Nahmias, Cunnigham contacted Campbells after each incident to report that their products had been tainted. Police officers alleged that the father told them he intended to get money from the corporation by claiming the children’s illness was caused by eating Campbell’s soup.

In a less nefarious case, a Virginian woman was sentenced to a year in gaol after claiming $500,000 from a Cracker Barrel restaurant for finding a dead mouse in her vegetable soup.

Carla Patterson was dining with her son Ricky on Mothers Day when the distasteful incident occurred. The company reacted by pulling the soup from their menu in over 539 restaurants across the country, yet this did little to curb the downturn in trade after the presence of the dead rodent became local news.

Patterson’s claim came unstuck, however, when evidence revealed the mouse had not died from drowning, nor boiling but from an apparently less accidental fractured skull.

The 38-year-old mother has reportedly vowed to appeal.

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 21 July 2006
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