If I had a hammer

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

My interweb friends will, lyk, totally find youThe internet isn’t as safe as it used to be for criminals, with bloggers, gamers and forum members using their Facebook stalking skills to track…

My interweb friends will, lyk, totally find you

The internet isn’t as safe as it used to be for criminals, with bloggers, gamers and forum members using their Facebook stalking skills to track down car and computer thieves in North America.

Late last month, The Calgary Sun reported recovery of a stolen, souped-up 1991 Nissan Skyline GT-R in Alberta, Canada, thanks to the members of the Beyond Car Forums. And in the United States, the owner of a stolen Apple Powerbook and Xbox 360 had his computers returned with the help of Digg.com readers.


With his first post on the car enthusiasts’ forum, 27-year-old Shaun Ironside reported his modified Skyline had been stolen during a test drive and asked members of the forum to keep an eye out for his pride and joy. Ironside, the owner of Envision Auto, posted detailed pictures of the refitted Japanese import, and 12 hours later a forum moderator, Jamez, had spotted the vehicle driving by a local mall.

Jamez managed to get close enough to take photographs of the 18-year-old alleged thief, called the police and then posted the pictures on the forum, boasting that he would have given chase had he not had is girlfriend and child in the car. “They are also lucky they gunned it when I was getting [out of] my car,” Jamez said. “[I] would have shit-kicked the cocky mofo.”

The pictures eventually led to the alleged thief being tracked down on Facebook by forum members, the car being recovered, and Ironside selling the thief’s “shitty wanksta hat” on eBay, as part of “internet forum history”.

Further south, in Philadelphia, 26-year-old engineer Jesse McPherson recovered his stolen Apple Powerbook and Xbox 360 after posting news of the theft on his blog, which was picked up by community-based news aggregator Digg.com.

After his colleagues took pity on him and gave him a new Xbox as a gift, McPherson logged into his old Xbox Live account to discover messages from Joseph Grone, who was in possession of the stolen consol and demanding US$200 ($217) for the safe return of the machine. Piecing together details of Grone’s identity via his Xbox Live profile and other online accounts, McPherson then outed the gamer on his blog, fed the story to Digg.com, which in turn launched a tidal wave of vitriol towards Grone from gamers slighted on McPherson’s behalf.

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The Xbox was eventually returned by Grone’s mother.

McPherson also obtained surveillance photographs of a man attempting to sell his Powerbook in a pawn shop, and included those photographs in this blog post. Fearing the prospect of similar treatment to that suffered by the Xbox recipient and claiming that he’d bought the laptop from “some crackhead”, the Powerbook boy returned the machine to McPherson.

Philadelphia police are believed to be close to making an arrest.

If I had a hammer

In an effort to comply with a court ruling to share his property with his ex-wife, a Serb farmer has used a grinding machine to cut his farm tools and machinery in half, Reuters reported.

Upset at being asked to give half his farming equipment to his wife of 45 years, 76-year-old Branko Zivkov bought an grinder and sliced up his tools, cattle scales and a sowing machine to simultaneously satisfy and spite the court and his wife, Vukadinka.

“I still haven’t decided how to split the cow,” he told a local newspaper. “She should just say what she wants — the part with the horns or the part with the tail.” Now, there’s a lovely mental image.

Mr Zivkov was apparently prepared to share half their earnings during the term of their marriage, but the thought of losing his tools was too much for him to bear. In a prolonged moment of insanity, the thought of losing all his tools must have seemed more reasonable.

I do not

Legislators in Arkansas in the US can finally come out of hiding, now that a botched law, which mistakenly allowed anyone — even children — to marry with parental permission, has been repealed.

The embarrassing glitch all came down to one extraneous word — “not” — which meant that that the law allowed anyone who was “not” pregnant to marry at any age with permission, the Metro.co.uk reported.

Though some legislators wanted to law corrected immediately after the mistake was picked up on last year, the state’s Governor, Mike Beebee, said there was no imminent crisis and little chance of any children actually marrying under the law. However when a special session was called by Beebe to consider an unrelated matter, legislators seized the change to fix the blunder, reinstating the minimum age for marriage at 17 for males and 16 for females.

According to Representative Will Bond, who sponsored the law and its eventual correction, there were no reports of young children attempting to marry under the faulty law.

Best. Essay. Ever.

Forget the diploma mills, Northumbria University is the place to send your children if you want to guarantee they’ll cruise through their legal practice course. Well, that’s not quite true, but the university has had to apologise to students for stuffing up the distribution of one of their essay questions, which might give students some hope that they’re likely to make similar mistakes in the future.

Instead of following well-established pedagogical best practice such as opaquely suggesting that “oh, this might be a question in the exam” or encouraging students to do their weekly reading by asking humiliating questions in seminars, the Law School simply cut out the middleman (or the need to think) and distributed the model answer with the essay question, RollOnFriday reported.

To make up for the administrative oversight, the school sent the following email to all students enrolled in their family law course:

From: Northumbria Uni LPC Admin

To: All LPC students

Subject: Family Law PLR2

Dear Students,

Due to the fact that the suggested answer was attached to the Family Law PLR2, if you have already collected this please return it to the Law reception as soon as possible and collect your revised copy.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Best wishes.

Beware the wombat

A 48-year-old New Zealand man has been sentenced to 75 hours community service after he falsely claimed to have been raped by a wombat.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, orchard worker Arthur Ross Cradock pleaded guilty in the Nelson District Court last week to the charge of using a phone for a fictitious purpose, after he called the police saying he was being raped by a wombat and needed immediate assistance. He later called again to withdraw the complaint, saying that the wombat had “pulled out”.

“Apart from speaking Australian now, I’m pretty alright you know, I didn’t hurt my bum at all,” Cradock then helpfully explained to the confused operator.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Stinger told the court that alcohol had played a major role in Cradock’s life, however Cradock’s lawyer, Michael Vesty, denied alcohol had been a problem that day.

Handing down his judgment, Judge Richard Russell, told Cradock not to do it again.

A penny for your thoughts worth nothing.

One-hundred years ago the penny was introduced to Canada and last week a Canadian legislator proposed an end to what he called “an expensive nuisance”, costing more to produce than it was worth, Reuters reported.

“Making cents, in fact, makes no sense at all,” New Democrats MP Pat Martin said. It cost CA$130 million ($140 million) to produce 1.2 billion pennies each year, most of which ended up down the back of couches, in cookie jars or donated to charities.

“We believe that at the same time we have a birthday party for the penny, we should have a funeral,” Martin said. “I don’t know what we’ll do about all the clichés. ‘A penny for your thoughts’ will have to be adjusted, I suppose, to keep with the times.”

Dismissing suggestions that such a move would be inflationary, Martin cited Australian and New Zealand currency rounding systems as proof that getting rid of the 1 cent coin would be revenue neutral.

Now, linking these three monetary systems reminds Folklaw of a grand conspiracy New Zealanders have been working towards since former Kiwi prime minister David Lange floated the “South Pacific peso” in 1985, which has only come to an end now that the Land of the Wrong White Crowd has changed it’s shrapnel to make it distinct from Australian coinage.

For more than 20 years tourists in Australia and New Zealand have been trafficking 5, 10 and 20 cent pieces across the Tasman, most of which has been laundered through vending machines and library photocopiers. Previously of identical size to their Australian counterparts, those New Zealand coins that end up in Australian pockets and change purses are rendered completely useless by snooty shop assistants who refuse to accept them, thus smelting their face value.

In 2006 New Zealand’s campaign to undermine Australia’s currency ended, when they disposed of the 5 cent coin and redesigned the 10 cent coin (to look like their old 2 cent coin), their 20 cent coin (to be roughly the same size as their 10 cent coin), and the 50 cent coin (which ended up about the same size of the old 20 cent coin).

It must be true, or rather, Folklaw will see if we can get it up on Wikipedia by the end of the week.

If I had a hammer
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