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Judge removed from bench for sparing speeders

The Local · 2 Dec 2010, 15:13

Published: 02 Dec 2010 15:13 GMT+01:00

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The regional daily Westfallen Blatt reported this week that Judge Helmut Knöner had been suspended after his impartiality in cases of speeding was called into question by public prosecutors. The judge recently became famous for announcing he could not penalize people for driving too fast because he had serious misgivings about the legality of speed traps.

“Doubts about the impartiality of a judge are justified when ... a judge takes a core position that affects his objectivity and neutrality,” Bernd Kahre, the head of Kröner’s district court, ruled. “The circumstances detailed by public prosecutors warrant concerns of prejudice.”

In early November, Knöner acquitted 42 speeders and said he would not penalise drivers until lawmakers had reviewed how, why and where speeding cameras can be used. He also raised concerns over the legal basis for photographing speeding drivers, saying that it was founded on unjustifiable anti-terrorism legislation.

“The question is whether these radar devices are primarily a way (for municipalities) to secure jobs and earn money,” he told Stern magazine last month.

Though normally prosecutors would have to ask for the judge to be recused for each case, Knöner cancelled all his court upcoming appearances following the decision against him this week.

“After that I called off all appointments in December,” he told Westfallen Blatt.

But he also remained defiant and determined to fight two charges of perversion of justice lodged against him by prosecutors.

“Everyone is playing their own game here, but scoring one victory here doesn’t meant victory overall,” he said.

Story continues below…

The Local/rm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:15 December 2, 2010 by DinhoPilot
Corrected... Hopefully they will fade him into obscurity instead of starting a revolution
18:22 December 2, 2010 by Landmine
Given the fact that Germans are paranoid about themselves and their homes being photographed by Google streets. The judge has a point.

It is also funny how Germans have no problems being photographed breaking the law when speeding on their vehicle but are steadfast against being photographed doing such innocent things as walking on a public street.

Chalk this up to another quirky German reaction.
20:46 December 2, 2010 by Simon_Kellett
Money vs. Safety: in what kind of location would speed reduction (assuming that is a cameras effect) *not* improve safety, all be it with diminishing returns?
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