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CRIME

Trial against weatherman Kachelmann postponed

The trial against Germany's high-profile TV weatherman Jörg Kachelmann was postponed on Monday morning in Mannheim after his defence team asked for two judges to be recused. The 52-year-old is accused of threatening his long-time girlfriend with a knife and raping her.

Trial against weatherman Kachelmann postponed
Photo: DPA

The Swiss-born weather expert faces up to 15 years in prison if he is found guilty of charges he denies.

“Mr. Kachelmann requested recusal because there are concerns that the two judges in question will not face him with the necessary impartiality,” said defence attorney Reinhard Birkenstock.

The case will now resume on September 13 after the suitability of the judges is determined.

Some 25 witnesses have been called to testify before the court in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, among them “various female witnesses from the circle around the accused” and five experts, according to prosecutors.

Kachelmann was arrested at the Frankfurt airport on March 20, 2010 and held on remand for four months until late July. A Mannheim court had said they had insufficient evidence to continue holding him.

The alleged victim, Kachelmann’s girlfriend, was the sole prosecution witness and the case was therefore “her word against his,” the court said.

It could not be ruled out that she had made false accusations, nor that she herself caused the injuries she claimed to have suffered during the rape, the court said.

A verdict in the trial is expected at the end of October.

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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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