Dateline: Canada--A judge in Newfoundland wasn’t buying a drunk driver’s argument that it wasn’t the rum in his rum and cola that caused him to kill a 15-year-old boy in a hit and run--it was the cola. According to the Toronto Star, Robert Parsons of St. John’s, N.L., remained silent as Justice David Orr found him guilty of failing to remain at the scene of an accident. “It is not the verdict I had hoped for,” Bob Simmonds, Parsons’ lawyer, said outside court last week. In March 2005, Parsons struck and killed Matthew Churchill while he was driving his car in St. John’s. At his trial, Parsons testified that he consumed three rum and colas before he got behind the wheel of his car. Parsons argued that he had no recollection of the accident and was in a “state of automatism brought on by a diabetic blackout.” Parsons will be sentenced Sept. 29.
Dateline: New Zealand--A lunchtime parade of topless porn stars down the main street of New Zealand’s biggest city has been given official approval by the Auckland City Council. Seems that the parade, featuring up to 30 porn stars riding on the backs of motorcycles or in open cars, does not actually violate any laws. The bare-breasted drive, which has been held informally since 2003, is intended to promote the Erotica Expo, opening in the city on Aug. 25. This is the first year that organizers have sought, and been given, official permission for the topless parade. Several city council members opposed to the parade were surprised to learn about it in a memo from events and promotions manager Annabel Lushthat, who noted that it was not against the law to go topless on the city’s Queen Street. Councilors were also told that numerous local police officers had already volunteered to be in attendance to ensure “road safety.”
Dateline: China--According to a report in China Daily, a new bar has opened in eastern China that allows its customers to beat up the staff. The Rising Sun Anger Release Bar in Nanjing lets customers smash glasses, scream and even hit specially trained workers. Owner Wu Gong told the newspaper that his bar employs 20 “models,” well-built men in their 20s and 30s who have been given protective gear and physical training to prepare them for the difficult job. Clients can even ask the men to dress as the character they wish to attack. The bar charges 50 to 300 yuan ($6.25 to $37.50) for every customer in accordance with their demands. Wu said that, at the moment, most of his customers were women, especially those working in service and entertainment companies such as karaoke bars or massage parlors.
Dateline: Brazil--In a surprise to no one but apparently the victim, a Brazilian man has died while trying to open what police believe was a rocket-propelled grenade with a sledgehammer. The accident occurred in a mechanical workshop on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Another man, who was in the workshop at the time of the explosion, was rushed to a hospital with severe burns, a police officer told Reuters news service. The workshop was destroyed and several cars parked outside caught fire. Police found a number of unexploded army issue rocket-propelled grenades in the workshop. They believe the ammunition had been brought there by scavengers wanting to sell them as scrap metal.
Dateline: New York--A man who tried to sue the city for illegally entering his apartment without a search warrant after he was mauled by his pet tiger has seen his case tossed out of court by an outraged judge. The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan was filed by Antoine Yates after he was arrested in October of 2003 at a Philadelphia hospital where he had gone for treatment of a deep bite to his right leg. Yates initially told police he had been attacked by a pit bull, but neighbors tipped off police that Yates was keeping a tiger and an alligator in his East Harlem apartment. Police determined that the situation was an emergency because, well, there was a large tiger that had recently mauled a man roaming around inside the apartment. An officer shot the tiger, named Ming, with a tranquilizer dart through a window. Both the 10-foot-long tiger and the 6-foot-long alligator were taken to a wildlife refuge in Ohio. Yates served 3 1/2 months in jail after pleading guilty to reckless endangerment. Last Thursday, Judge Sidney H. Stein ruled that the city acted “cautiously and appropriately” in entering Yates’ apartment to remove the animals. He added that chutzpah, Yiddish for audacity, was a word overused in judicial opinions but the “most appropriate term to use” in reference to Yates’ frivolous lawsuit.
Dateline: Washington--A state panel has disciplined a Tacoma judge who ordered courtroom cheers for the Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks before issuing a manslaughter sentence. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Beverly Grant recently received an official admonishment stemming from a Feb. 3 hearing in which she sentenced Steve Keo Teang to 13 1/2 years for manslaughter in the 2005 shooting of Tino Patricelli. Before the proceedings, Grant asked about 100 people in court to say “Go Seahawks” before being seated. Dissatisfied with their unenthusiastic response, she repeated the request. “Although my intentions were to defuse the courtroom situation, I realize now the inappropriateness of my opening comments,” Grant told the commission.