Jokes at the check-in counter at the airport that you have a bomb will no longer go down well, we are warned. But apparently, this is not the only place where a sense of humour is not appreciated. A ‘bored’ grandmother has been given a three-year suspended prison sentence after she staged a bogus bank robbery for her own amusement.
The 80 year-old, known as Elfriede, apparently threatened a cashier in Austria with a toy pistol and whispered, “This is a stick up”. The terrified face of the cashier obviously did the trick, when the grandmother burst out laughing.
Upon release from custody, Elfriede was later warned by a judge that her risky jokes would not be so easily forgiven next time, and if she re-offends in the next three years she is likely to be locked up.
Elfriede replied, “If I live that long. But thanks.”
The case of the perfectionist thief
Here is yet another quirky tale from our friends in Romania, because Folklaw probably wouldn’t be the same without one. This time, we draw your attention to the hapless luck of a burglar who was caught twice by the same policeman in the same property but with four years in between, which he spent in jail.
Ionel Raileanu, 28, walked free recently after serving his sentence, handed out in 2001. Crazily, he proceeded straight for the same flat in Galati in southwest Romania where he had committed his first offence. It would seem he had come back to finish the job he had not completed years before. Apparently neighbours alerted police, and the same police officer from the local station turned up at the scene. Spotting the hero of our tale coming out of the house with his hands full of stolen goods, the police officer recognised him straight away: “It was a real feeling of déjà vu”, he said.
Dads’ army vs the schools
Following on from a previous Folklaw story about a US father who tried to sue a school for giving his son homework over the summer break, another US dad has sued the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, requesting that a judge overrule a teacher who gave his daughter a bad grade.
Newsobserver.com reports that Luping Qu in Henderson County filed a complaint for “capricious grading and false presentation” on behalf of his school-age daughter. He then filed another suit against the high school for gifted students, claiming it denied him accurate information about safety on the campus. Having filed his claims without a lawyer, Qu took his daughter out of the school because “it wasn’t the right kind of place” for her.
In the second law suit, Qu argued the school administrators have denied his requests for accurate information about the campus and he says the expulsion rates could be high because of drug use, alcohol use and improper sexual behaviour.
Behaviour management overdose
A Chilean women is suing a judge who made her six year-old son wear handcuffs and leg-irons after he misbehaved in a court hearing in Santiago.
According to reports, the young chap started misbehaving when his mother brought him with her to the court hearing. Despite requests from his mum and the judge to quieten down, he continued talking loudly, running and jumping around. In despair, the judge asked that he be put in chains.
When this failed to shut the lad up, the judge called him a “Tasmanian devil” and had him removed from the court. Obviously pleased to be rid of her offspring, the woman was OK with this all at the time, but upon reflection thought it decidedly out of sorts. She now says the judge acted improperly and argues her son was treated like a criminal, even though he was only six.
Pat a cake, pat a cake… sued
You would think that living near a bakery would be a rather divine experience, what with the smells of hot bread and pastries wafting through the streets early morning, filling your house with doughy deliciousness. But, the neighbour of a small bakery in Belgium is not so impressed, not necessarily because of the scents that come with it, but because of the small, erotic marzipan figures that adorn the window displays.
She says the bakery’s cakes, which often depict sexual positions, should not be on display for the world to see, and is suing the baker in an effort to have them removed. The baker is defensive of his playful cakes, and told Het Laatste Nieuws that “It’s only fun, the figurines don’t show sexual organs”.
“People laugh when they see them and buy them to give their wives or girlfriends,” the baker argued. But his neighbour remains unimpressed, and says placing them in the window is like exposing children to pornography.
Ferguson is on the case
Not much gets past the president of the Queensland Law Society, Folklaw has noticed. In a most recent example, president Glenn Ferguson made available a letter he wrote to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission regarding a recent advertisement in The Courier Mail. The ad, headed ‘Warning: Make yourself LAWSUIT PROOF’, was forwarded to Ferguson by a Society member concerned about the intent and effect of it.
Ferguson notes in his letter that a call to a listed number gives access to a pre-recorded message from a person identifying himself as Loch Laversher from Laversher and Associates of the Asset Protection group. An internet search, presumably conducted by the Law Society, failed to return any record of Laversher or his organisation, as did a search of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission database. Only an ASIC search came up with something — a company called Asset Protection Group Pty Ltd, registered in Claremont, Western Australia.
It is clear, according to Ferguson, that the claim made by the advertisement is untrue, and it could also be misleading and deceptive advertising under the Trade Practices Act 1974. The recorded message asks people to leave their contact details to obtain a free report, ‘Don’t be a Sitting Duck’, which Ferguson says we can assume is different from the free report mentioned in the newspaper ad, How to stop some Gold Digging Scumbag Legally Stealing YOUR Hard Earned Assets’.
Ferguson notes in his letter to the ACCC that the titles of these documents “hardly suggest responsible and informed professional advice and I would be appreciative of your investigation and advice in due course”.
This tale could well be just one of those urban myths that frequents the pages of Folklaw from time to time. A first place winner in the recent Criminal Lawyers Award Contest, the story features a lawyer and an expensive box of Cuba’s fine cigars…
A Charlotte, NC, lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against fire among other things. Within a month having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the lawyer filed claim against the insurance company. In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires." The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason: that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. The lawyer sued...and won!
In delivering the ruling the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The Judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable fire, and was obligated to pay the claim.
Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the rare cigars lost in the "fires."
NOW FOR THE BEST PART...
After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.