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Former MP Tauss faces court on child porn charges

Former Social Democratic parliamentarian Jörg Tauss will face a Karlsruhe district court on Tuesday on suspicion of possession and distribution of child pornography.

Former MP Tauss faces court on child porn charges
Photo: DPA

Public prosecutors have accused the 56-year-old of 102 counts of having or disseminating the illegal photos and videos. They believe he acquired the data and saved it on his mobile phone between May 2007 and January 2009.

Tauss maintains his innocence and has said he possessed the illegal materials as part of his research to fight child pornography. Investigators said they found “no objective evidence” of this claim, saying it had been “disproved.”

In September 2009 the Bundestag annulled Tauss’ parliamentary immunity, clearing the way for prosecutors to press charges.

After the scandal broke, Tauss’ lawyer criticised state prosecutors for staging a “public execution.”

In response to the investigation, Tauss left the centre-left Social Democratic Party, for which he has been an MP since 1994. He then became the first and only member of the Pirate Party in the Bundestag until the general election last September.

The Pirate Party in Germany sees itself as representing those in the information technology community, campaigning for privacy protection as well as the loosening of copyright laws.

He said he left the SPD in protest at its decision to support a bill giving the government the power to censor websites containing child porn.

Although Tauss is known for his experience in information technology matters, he said the decision to give the government powers to close such sites down is a mistake.

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CRIME

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.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

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. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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