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Balcony smoking times can be limited: court

Smokers take note! The Federal Supreme Court (BGH) on Friday have declared that the smell of smoke can be limited to certain times of the day after a couple sued their cigarette-smoking neighbours for stinking up their afternoon coffee time.

Balcony smoking times can be limited: court
Photo: DPA

The BGH said that second-hand cigarette smoke from a neighbouring balcony is a "substantial nuisance" and could be regulated by local authorities.

The decision made set no specific restrictions, but instead the ruling makes allowances for limitations set on a case-by-case basis in favour of those who complain about too much cigarette smoke coming from neighbours.

Now the court of origin in Potsdam has to rule further. There, local authorities will decide how to regulate smoking times in the region in the first court decision of its kind

A pair of pensioners from Premnitz in Brandenburg took their downstairs neighbours to court when they said the second-hand smoke wafting from their balcony was excessive and disturbing.

"We only want some consideration," said the 82-year-old man who brought the suit forward after the local court's first ruling.

He and his wife live above a smoking couple and had previously brought them before courts in Potsdam. When local authorities ruled in favour of the smokers, the couple decided to appeal the decision to the higher authorities.

Following the BGH's decision, the Potsdam district court has to decide how bad the problem really is and what limits to place on the smokers.

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COURTS

Woman on trial over killing spree at Potsdam care home

The trial began on Tuesday of a woman accused of stabbing four residents to death and severely injuring another at a German care home for disabled people where she worked outside Berlin.

Tributes laid where four people were killed at a care home in Potsdam.
Tributes laid where four people were killed at a care home in Potsdam. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Soeren Stache

Named as Ines Andrea R., the 52-year-old suspect is charged with four counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder following the bloodbath at the Thusnelda-von-Saldern-Haus facility in Potsdam, Brandenburg, in April.

The victims, two women and two men aged between 31 and 56, were found dead in their rooms after being stabbed with a knife, with police saying they had been subjected to “intense, extreme violence”.

Ines Andrea R. is also accused of trying to kill two further residents and of seriously injuring another, a woman aged 43.

She was detained immediately after the incident and placed in urgent psychiatric care due to what prosecutors described as “pertinent evidence” of severe mental illness.

Around 100 police officers were involved in recovering evidence at the scene.

READ ALSO: Women in custody over killings at Potsdam disabled home

The Thusnelda-von-Saldern-Haus, run by the Lutheran Church’s social welfare service, specialises in helping those with physical and mental disabilities, including blind, deaf and severely autistic patients.

It offers live-in care as well as schools and workshops.

Around 65 people live at the residence, which employs more than 80 people.

Germany has seen a number of high-profile murder cases from care facilities.

In the most prominent trial, nurse Niels Högel was sentenced in 2019 to life in prison for murdering 85 patients in his care.

READ ALSO: Missed chances: How Germany’s killer nurse got away with 85 murders

Högel, believed to be Germany’s most prolific serial killer, murdered patients with lethal injections between 2000 and 2005, before he was eventually caught in the act.

Last year, a Polish healthcare worker was sentenced to life in prison in Munich for killing at least three people with insulin.

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