Monday, November 28, 2011

Benedict Bashing

Those who follow my blogs may remember the one I wrote about Pope Benedict's visit in Freiburg. The other day I made some comments about what is typically German with respect to seeking justice in court.

Now, here comes a surprising association: A guy from Dortmund had his lawyer in Unna file a suit against the Pope for not having put on a seat belt while touring Freiburg: Mr. Joseph Ratzinger born in Marktl/Landkreis Altötting on 16 April 1927 drove on 24 and 25 September 2011 for more than an hour without a seat belt in his papamobile. Witnesses are the Archbishop of Freiburg Robert Zollitsch and Baden-Württemberg's Ministerpräsident (governor) Winfried Kretschmann. Freiburg's district court confirmed the receipt of a fax to this respect.

Pope Benedict XVI in his papamobile without a seat belt on Kaiser-Joseph-Straße (Wikipedia)
The Dortmund guy said he does not seek publicity but justice must be done. There is a 30 euro fine for driving without a seat belt in Germany increasing up to 2500 in case of recurrence which the Pope surely was guilty of. Do you still feel that my earlier allusion to Shylock standing for his bond was far-fetched? I am convinced the man from Dortmund if not satisfied by the decision of the district court will drag the case up to our highest court in Karlsruhe.

What will possibly happen? Freiburg's district court will declare not competent in the case as the Pope being head of state enjoys diplomatic immunity. And indeed, taking the fact that diplomatic staff serving in Berlin gets away unpunished with drunken driving and car crashing the not wearing of seat belts is just a petty offence. The declared incompetence of Freiburg's district court however will open up the way for an appeal to the next higher instance and if all goes wrong the Pope's case will end up in Karlsruhe.

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