Daily Bild reported that a Düsseldorf court had ruled that the man’s trauma from the image – ending in the breakdown of his marriage – could be regarded as work-related injury.
On September 28, 2005, the police superintendent, 39, received an email from his chief commissioner. An attachment on the email opened a Powerpoint presentation, the first slide of which was a voluptuous blonde woman reclining on a Ferrari, with the caption: “Imagine, you have a date with this woman.”
However when the officer clicked further, the slideshow moved on to “what purported to be a woman’s genitalia infected with a skin rash, supposedly an advanced venereal disease,” the court heard.
He was “seriously traumatized,” the court heard.
Ultimately, the email caused the man “psychiatric illness, obsessive compulsive disorders and obsessive ideas.”
The man became depressed and was forced to take medication.
The man’s marriage also fell apart. In the court’s judgement, it stated: “His mind had at the time revolved around the question of whether similar symptoms could exist with his wife, which interfered with his sex life to such an extent that in the end it ... resulted in separation.”
District authorities in Wesel who challenged the policeman’s case, told the court: “It goes against every experience of life that a grown man, indeed a policeman, could come away with psychiatric damage from a glimpse at a picture.”
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia must in the wake of the court decision pay the man’s medical costs and costs associated with any long-term damage.
The policeman has already launched a second court challenge to win compensation from the state because the incident had also negatively affected his career.