Politician in child porn investigation suspended

The head of the district authority in Oberspreewald-Lausitz, Brandenburg, has been suspended because of child pornography files found on his computer, daily Märkische Allgemeine reported on Friday.

Georg Dürrschmidt will face allegations in the Senftenberg district court beginning January 2009, according to Martina Schwonke, spokesperson of the Higher Regional Court of Brandenburg.

The family man denies possession of the material, which the paper said consists of some 50 pictures and two videos featuring minors in pornographic situations, found on his private computer.

The Christian Democratic Party (CDU) member has appealed the penalty order of €12,600 and filed a protest against the charges.

Police secured the questionable computer in 2007, and the paper said it was unclear why Dürrschmidt was not suspended until Thursday. Officials at the Ministry of Justice agreed that the political impact of the trial will be beyond regional, and therefore decided to inform the public, a spokesperson from the county court in Cottbus told the Märkische Allgemeine.

No one from Dürrschmidt’s office was available for comment, the paper said.


Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

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In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

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