End of Year Story: The Year’s Strangest Cases

One advantage of the Times (UK) being owned by News Corp is that they aren’t scared at the end of the year to have a few top tens…

We have


The Weirdest Legal Cases Of 2008



Here’s 10-8 (linkl above to see the rest)


10. Although grunting is not a specific offence under English law, a 36-year-old bodybuilder was fined £70 at a magistrates’ court in Kent after his workouts became intolerable to his neighbours. Giran Jobe’s grunting during his regular two-hour sessions — and the noise when his power weights came crashing down on the floor of his top-floor flat — was so bad it reached as much as 100 decibels, according to monitors installed by the local council. In other words, as loud as the noise on the platform of a Tube station as a train arrives. Jobe was fined after 47 breaches of a noise abatement order; he pledged in future to focus on push-ups.

9. A woman in the US (where else?) sued L’Oreal after her hair turned from blonde to dark brown after using a colouring product. Charlotte Feeney accused the cosmetics company of negligence, claiming that the ordeal had left her clinically depressed and had impeded her social life. “I stay at home more than ever [and] wear hats most of the time,” she said, suggesting that all hair colouring products should come with a warning label. But a judge rejected her claim, noting that Feeney had offered “no facts, no opinions and no standards” to support her case.

8. Two residents of Lesbos, an island in Greece, launched legal action in a bid to win the exclusive right to call themselves Lesbians. The islanders claimed that the term’s modern day sexual connotations have caused “mental distress”. History, at least, was against the action: the term "lesbian" originated with Sappho, a 7th-century poet from Lesbos who was known for expressing her love for other women in verse. The case did not succeed.


And also their tongue in cheek legal awards which make more enjoyable reading than best M&A partner in  Shanghai..


No sex please. We’re British and it’s private
David Panncik, QC


During the hearing of Max Mosley’s successful claim that his right to privacy had been breached by newspaper revelations of sadomasochistic orgies at which prostitutes spoke German, the chief reporter of the News of the World, Neville Thurlbeck, told Mr Justice Eady: “It certainly wasn’t Hansel and Gretel.” In 2008 courts considered a large number of cases that lacked a fairytale ending.

Worst Judge of the Year was Elizabeth Halverson, who the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline decided was unfit for judicial office because of her “paranoid” relationship with other judges and “disrespectful” attitude to her staff who had to suffer from her “mercurial temperament and foul mouth”. Judge Halverson did not just have difficult professional relationships with colleagues and staff during her “mercifully short tenure” as a judge. The disciplinary proceedings had been delayed after Halverson was injured when her husband attacked her with a frying pan. He pleaded guilty to battery with a deadly weapon.

In the battle for Juror of the Year,
a special mention for the jurors in Sydney, Australia, who caused a criminal trial to be aborted after more than 60 days in court because they were habitually concentrating on Su Doku puzzles when the judge thought that they were taking careful notes. But the winner of the award is the female juror removed from hearing a sexual assault and child abduction trial at Burnley Crown Court after she posted details of the case on Facebook and asked friends to assist her to decide whether the defendant was guilty (“I don’t know which way to go so I’m holding a poll”).

Least Impressive Performance by an Advocate in Court in 2008 was by Roger Phipps: when asked by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans why he had not addressed a relevant judgment of the Supreme Court, he replied: “I try not to read that many cases, Your Honour.”


Read the rest at http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article5354973.ece