The Tommy Sheridan libel case is perhaps the top legal news of the week in Scotland. But there have been some other interesting legal stories of late.
Take the tale of nineteen year old Aaron Mitchell, who got himself into hot water when he decided to make a prank telephone call.
But rather than take a lesson from the Simpsons and call a local bar looking for Amada Hugandkiss or even Hugh Jass, he decided to call Lt Commander Mandy McBain at HMS Excellent Royal Navy Command Headquarters. And, after smoking some cannabis, Mitchell left a message threatening to blow the ship up.
Lt Commander McBain immediately reported the incident to base security, who in turn contacted the police. They managed to track Mitchell down pretty easily, as he made one crucial mistake …
He left his telephone number with his message!
Mitchell ended up in Portsmouth Crown Court, where he pleaded guilty to making a bomb threat. His lawyer David Richards told the court that it had all been a joke. “This offence was committed while he was intoxicated with cannabis – an act of gross stupidity that he now regrets.”
But the judge failed to see the funny side and sentenced Mitchell to 16 weeks in prison.
Then there was the New Yorker who was arrested for drink driving – on the back of a lawn mower.
Barry Foster ran out of booze, so he decided to ride his lawn mower to the local liquor store to buy some more. Unfortunately for him, police caught him on the way back to his home in Swan Lake, New York.
Foster was taken to hospital and his driving license has been suspended.
But my favourite story comes from France.
An enterprising gang of thieves in Villeneuve-les-Beziers broke into a vineyard and stole a farmer’s entire crop of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
They picked a night with a full moon and used a harvesting machine to seize 30 tonnes of grapes from the isolated vinyard. The farmer, Roland Cavaille, of Languedoc-Roussillon, one of France’s best-known wine growing regions, said the theft amounted to a whole year’s work.
One witness reported hearing engine noises in the early hours of the morning and police have been examining footprints left at the scene, according to a local newspaper.
But just what do you do with 30 tonnes of grapes??