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Judges call for rethink on court security

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Photo: DPA
07:09 CET+01:00
German judges have called for a complete rethink of security after a prosecutor was shot dead by a man in court who seemingly had no problem taking a pistol into the court.

“There needs to be a concrete security plan for every single courthouse,” said Christoph Frank, head of the German Association of Judges.

The 54-year-old named only as Rudolf U. was not searched when he entered Dachau civil court, despite having being described as "verbally aggressive" and "irritated” during the first two days of the three-day hearing, the Bavarian Justice Ministry confirmed on Thursday.

As the verdict of a one-year suspended sentence for fraud and failure to pay wage-related social security, was being read out, Rudolf U. pulled out the gun and fired at the judge before turning to the prosecutor, who he hit three times.

On Friday it was reported that just a few hours previously, he had caused a ruckus while with his lawyer at a nearby restaurant, shouting abuse about the judge.

He was “very loud and aggressive, making a racket,” said Vicky Kisperth, who works at the Café & Restaurant Schloss Dachau.

She told the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung that Rudolf U. had screamed, “Bloody judge!” while ranting to his lawyer, and had had to be told to calm down.

People from Dachau laid flowers and put candles outside the court, which was closed for the rest of the week, with all cases postponed.

"We felt safe in our city, and then something like this," Christine Unzeitig, a member of the city council in Dachau told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Rudolf U. has so far said nothing to investigators holding him in investigative custody while prosecutors prepare murder charges.

The debate on how much security is desirable for courts in Germany will continue – and will inevitably refer to the death of a woman who was stabbed to death in a Dresden court in 2009.

Security checks in civil courts are often non-existent although judges can order they be implemented in cases where they feel there is a risk of violence.

The German Judiciary Union (DJG), which represents courthouse workers, called for new security measures, saying the subject had been neglected and poorly funded by the federal states.

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It emerged on Friday that a judge in Karlsruhe needed hospital treatment after being punched in the face by a man whose appeal against an order that he pay €6,000 in wages he denied.

The 63-year-old judge lost a tooth and suffered a cut in the face in the attack which happened on December 15.

The Local/DAPD/mdm

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