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Man sleeping in Düsseldorf station locker for 9 years faces jail

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Man sleeping in Düsseldorf station locker for 9 years faces jail
Mike K. in court with a supporter. Photo: DPA
12:18 CEST+02:00
A drug-addicted homeless man who slept for nine years in a luggage locker at Düsseldorf's main train station could face jail after Deutsche Bahn took him to court for repeated trespassing.

The 29-year-old man, named only as Mike K., has a serious drug problem, his lawyer Martin Lauppe-Assmann told The Local.

“He has been at the Düsseldorf main station a lot and has slept in the luggage lockers there, but this is no reason to jail him,” he said.

“I am not even convinced that Deutsche Bahn can legally ban him from the station – it is a public place, it is like trying to ban someone from a park lawn.”

A spokeswoman for Düsseldorf district court said the administrative court delivered a sentence of nine months to the man for repeated trespass. "But this was taken to appeal, a process which is continuing at the moment,” she said.

The spokeswoman said that the district court judge last Thursday decided that the man should undergo psychiatric and medical evaluation to see whether he was fit to stand trial, a process which would take at least a month.

Mike K. is said to be a heroin addict, and suffering from hepatitis.

“We have a very generous social state in Germany, but it does not, and in my view, should not, cover a person's drug habits," Lauppe-Assmann said. "But I think we should as a society, be ready to accept that some people have these problems.

“It might be annoying to have someone begging in a train station, or sleeping there if they are homeless, but I think as a society we should be able to cope with that – such a case should not be the business of criminal law.”

The district judge will decide whether the case will continue once the reports on Mike K. have been completed.

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