Austrian Man Fined For 'Provocatively Farting At Police' Has Fine Reduced
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An Austrian man who was fined €500 (£425) for loudly farting near police officers has had his fine reduced to €100 (£85) after launching an appeal.
The unidentified man was whacked with a fine in Vienna after 'offending public decency' by 'farting provocatively' at police in June last year.
However, he then challenged the fine, in what must have been a very strange day in court for all concerned.
The man told the courts that breaking wind was merely a 'biological process' - well, you can't argue with that, I suppose.
The man said even if he had done it deliberately, his fart was covered by freedom of expression, thelocal.at reports.
In Austria, freedom of expression is not limited to just speech, but also covers noises and communication in other forms.
But the sound must have 'communicative intent', which this bloke's fart didn't, according to the court.
Nonetheless, the court decided to reduce the fine by €400, taking into account his lack of criminal record.
The judge said that although breaking wind is technically a form of communication it was a 'form of expression that transcends the boundaries of decency'.
The man's actions were also branded 'ridiculous', which is fair enough, I think. But the judge also said he only had 'average culpability' for the offence.
Talking about the bizarre incident, Paul Eberstaller, university assistant at the Juridicum told Der Standard: "If a private person had been a 'victim' in this case, public decency would not be violated. In addition, the authorities would probably not pursue complaints from private individuals.
"At the same time, legal protection is often lacking in the event of actual problems."
At the time of the offence, the police force posted on Twitter to reassure people that 'no one is reported for accidentally letting one go once'.
They went on to say the man had acted 'provocatively and uncooperatively' during the incident, which took place on a park bench.
The force claimed the man stood up, looked directly at the officers and 'let go a massive intestinal wind apparently with full intent' after he was asked to confirm his identity.
The police added: "Our colleagues don't like to be farted at so much."
Well, who does, eh?