Crafty ‘crook’ makes German court see double

It's a trick every identical twin knows - pass the blame on to your doppelgänger. And for a convicted burglar in Düsseldorf it might just free him from a lengthy jail sentence.

Crafty 'crook' makes German court see double
File photo: DPA

The 42-year-old warehouse worker from Serbia was sentenced to 13 months' imprisonment on probation earlier this year, after his DNA was reportedly found at the scene of a break-in.

Whoever's DNA was found at the crime scenes, he bored holes in patio doors to break into numerous houses and apartments, investigators report – and twice made away with goods worth around €4,000.

During the trial, the prosecution dismissed claims that the man had a twin as absurd – but three weeks later,  the Serbian Consul General confirmed the man's claim.

His identical twin brother lives in Serbia.

Now the case will go before the North Rhine-Westphalia state court to determine whether the conviction is unsound.

Differentiating between identical twins' DNA is a challenge for scientists, reports Rheinischer Post.

Only one institute in Germany is able to carry out the complex procedure – and with expected costs of around €60,000, the court must decide whether to commission this expensive analysis or not.

But as the Düsseldorf twin also faces a trial for several charges of fraud in a different court which does not rely on DNA evidence, he would likely not walk free even if the first conviction is lifted.

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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