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How bizarre!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-10-26 08:06:14
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Drink-drive chair up for auction

bizzare01_01Police in the US state of Minnesota are planning to auction off a specially modified and motorised lounge chair whose owner crashed it while drunk. Dennis LeRoy Anderson, 62, pleaded guilty last Monday to driving the La-Z-Boy while drunk in August last year.

The chair was impounded after he smashed into a parked car as he returned from a bar in Proctor.
The chair comes with a stereo, nitrous oxide booster, parachute and a "hell yeah it's fast" sticker. Local police Chief Walter Wobig told Agence France-Presse news agency the chair would be posted on eBay next week with no reserve price. Minnesota police can auction off vehicles seized in drink-drive cases or keep them for official use.

A martini cocktail for the highway?


Man breaks 15 laws in 11 minutes

bizzare02_400A driver has confounded Swiss police by committing 15 traffic violations in just over 10 minutes, officials say. The 47-year-old initially raced past an unmarked police car in heavy rain at 160 km/h (100mph) before weaving close to other cars and the road's kerb.

The serial offender clocked up further offences for speeding, driving on the hard shoulder, running a set of red lights and failing to stop for police.  When finally pulled over by St Gallen police, he failed a drugs test.

But he was wearing his driving belt!


Polygamy club

Plans to open branches of a Malaysian "Polygamy Club" in Indonesia have upset women's groups and religious leaders in the world's most populous Muslim nation, who say the search for multiple wives should be handled privately — not by a bizzare03matchmaking service. Under Islamic law, Muslim men are permitted four wives. The club claims a noble aim of helping single mothers, reformed prostitutes and women who feel they are past marrying age meet spouses. It also offers counseling to people facing problems in polygamous households.

The Malaysian owners say they want to "change people's perception about polygamy, so that they will see it as a beautiful rather than abhorrent practice," club chairwoman Hatijah Binti Am said as members from around 30 families attended a gathering in Bandung, west Java, for the opening of the first Indonesian branch last week. Others will soon be added, including in the capital, Jakarta, said spokeswoman Rohaya Mohamad.

"Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country, so polygamy can be a way of life there too," Rohaya said. Polygamous relationships are believed to be gaining in popularity in secular Indonesia, but it's impossible to say how many there are because the marriages are performed secretly at mosques and are not recorded by the state.


Jury finds woman ‘not guilty,’ then ‘guilty’

Langley resident Patricia Sylvester went on an emotional roller coaster ride in Island County Superior Court. Sylvester, 49, was on trial last week on a vehicular assault charge in connection with a head-on collision on Cultus Bay Road Oct. 3, 2008, that left a man with a collapsed lung and three fractured ribs. A run-of-the-mill trial turned into something unusual Monday morning. Sylvester rushed to court at about 11 a.m. after the 12-member jury reported that they had reached a verdict. She was crying and visibly shaking as she waited for the jury to file in with their decision.

bizzare04_400_01Finally, Judge Alan Hancock read the verdict: “not guilty.” Sylvester and her supporters in the audience cried tears of joy, but the relief was short lived. Hancock polled the jury, as Sylvester’s attorney Charles Hamilton had requested. The confusion started immediately when the first juror said she did not agree with the verdict. Hancock sent the jury out of the courtroom. He discussed the problem with Hamilton and Deputy Prosecutor David Carman, who both seemed surprised at the turn of events. Hancock ultimately decided to call the jury back in and explain that a verdict must be a unanimous decision by all members of the jury. He then sent them back to the jury room to continue deliberating.

At about 2:30 p.m., the jury again reported they had reached a verdict. This time, the jury found Sylvester guilty of vehicular assault, though it was the least serious of three “prongs” of the charge. The jury found that she wasn’t guilty of committing vehicular assault while intoxicated, which is the most serious version of the crime. Carman admitted afterward that the confusion over the verdict was “at least unusual” and something he had never heard of before. Based on conversations with several jurors, he surmised that they misunderstood a jury instruction regarding the necessity of a unanimous decision. They thought that the jury must find the defendant “not guilty” if they don’t have a unanimous decision. In fact, the jury is supposed to deliberate toward a unanimous verdict; if a verdict absolutely can’t be reached, then the judge can declare a mistrial and the prosecution may try the case again.

Carman said the jury sent questions to the judge Friday afternoon asking whether a verdict needs to be unanimous. “The jury consistently have misunderstood the necessity of a unanimous verdict,” Hamilton said in court, clearly frustrated. After the judge sent them back, the jury members “looked deeper into the evidence” and returned the guilty verdict, Carman said. Sylvester will be sentenced at a hearing in November.


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