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CRIME

Shooter, 81, avoids jail for killing teen burglar

An 81-year-old man avoided a jail sentence on Monday for shooting and killing a teenage intruder who broke into his house in western Germany.

Shooter, 81, avoids jail for killing teen burglar
The 81-year-old shooter arriving in court. Photo: DPA

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The state court in Stade, Lower Saxony, rejected calls from both the state prosecutors and the defence lawyer for Ernst B. to be found not guilty of manslaughter.

But he was given a nine-month suspended sentence, meaning he will not go to prison. 

The teenager broke into the man's home in Sittensen with four other masked men in 2010, threatening him and demanding money.

But when his burglar alarm went off, the pensioner was able to get free and grab one of the guns he kept in the house.

As the raiders fled, he fired several shots, hitting the 16-year-old fatally in the back.

The rest of the gang were jailed for between three-and-a-half and four years. 

The dead boy's family spent years pressing courts and prosecutors to take on the case, which sparked a debate in Germany about the limits of reasonable self-defence.

SEE ALSO: Raiders blow up Berlin bank

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CLIMATE CRISIS

German farmer sues Volkswagen over CO2 emissions

A German court on Friday began hearing a case against the Volkswagen group brought by a farmer who claims the pollution caused by the automotive giant is infringing on his rights.

German farmer sues Volkswagen over CO2 emissions

Ulf Allhoff-Cramer, an organic farmer from the Rhineland town of Detmold, backed by the Greenpeace campaign group, says Volkswagen’s emissions are significantly contributing to climate change and therefore damaging his business.

He claims this is interfering with his fundamental rights to property, health and freedom.

“A corporation with such gigantic CO2 emissions as VW is partly responsible for the damage caused by the climate crisis,” Roda Verheyen, Allholf-Cramer’s lawyer, was cited as saying by Greenpeace ahead of the proceedings.

If the group does not reduce its emissions much faster than currently planned, it will be harming others and therefore behaving “unlawfully”, she said.

However, a spokesman for the court in Detmold on Friday said it had expressed clear doubts about the success of the lawsuit.

The case was adjourned until September to allow time for the farmer to submit additional written evidence and to allow Volkswagen time to comment.

READ ALSO: How climate change is threatening Germany’s forests¬†

The automotive group has previously rejected his allegations as “unfounded”.

He is trying to claim “individual liability for general consequences of climate change” and that “in our view cannot succeed”, the carmaker said.

Allhoff-Cramer and Greenpeace want to force VW to reduce the proportion of cars it makes with combustion engines to 25 percent by 2029, and to end production of combustion engine vehicles completely by 2030.

They also want VW to reduce its CO2 emissions by 65 percent compared to 2018.

The plaintiffs accuse VW of having known about the dangers of global warming for decades.

READ ALSO: Germany chooses Greenpeace chief as first climate envoy

They say research has shown the board was warned at a meeting in 1983 of the consequences of increasing carbon dioxide emissions and the threat of climate change.

The Volkswagen group – whose 12 brands include Audi, Porsche and Skoda – is pumping 35 billion euros into the shift to electric vehicles and aims to become the world’s largest electric carmaker by 2025.

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