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 V.18 No.13 | March 26 - April 1, 2009 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Australia—An Australian state minister has lodged a complaint after a city councilor put forward a motion to buy her a sex toy. Sydney Councilor Danny Lim lodged the motion to buy a "vibrator" for New South Wales Fair Trading Minister Virginia Judge. He wanted to encourage her to "stop screwing with the people of Strathfield and screw herself instead," reported the Australian Daily Telegraph. The Council refused to table the motion, but Ms. Judge has lodged a complaint calling for action against Mr. Lim. Lim admitted to the incident and said he had been behind a series of corruption allegations against Ms. Judge—claims that have been rejected. "The pattern of harassment and verbal abuse is intimidating and upsetting to me and my family," Ms. Judge said.

Dateline: Australia—A man confused by years of habitual marijuana use believed he was married to his former roommate for nearly a decade—a mistake that threatened to derail his wedding to a new partner. The man, 38, planned to marry this month but was unable to find the papers to prove to the marriage celebrant he was not still married to his previous partner, which she required because he had listed his marital status as "divorced." The births, deaths and marriages registry was placed on notice that a marriage might have occurred and proof of a divorce needed to be found before anyone could perform a new ceremony. The man could not specifically remember a wedding ceremony taking place but always believed he and his former roommate had been married. He told the Family Law Court in Sydney the details must have slipped his mind because he was stoned at the time. Indeed he had no "meaningful recollection" of significant portions of the relationship. The pair apparently fought a lot during the 10 years they lived together. In 2003, the woman gave the man a document to sign, which he believed was their divorce papers. Urged on by the Family Law Court, the man contacted his former housemate for proof of their divorce—at which point she told him it was a residential tenancy agreement that he had signed. The man and his new bride are now free to be married.

Dateline: Australia—Some raunchy strip club signage is proving to be not just amoral but also a physical danger to Hobart, Tasmania, schoolchildren, critics say. Hobart Hooters Bar owner Peter Johnson is so far refusing to replace two signs causing some offense, calling the controversy "a storm in a D-cup.'' The club is close to a cinema and a private girls' school, and its 6-foot-high exterior signs are visible from more than 500 feet away. They show a woman's naked torso and a bikini-clad pole dancer. The Advertising Standards Bureau has received complaints about the signs, and the girls’ school principal says they are “inappropriately placed.” So far, though, the Hobart City Council is struggling to find a regulation prohibiting the signage. Tasmanian Commissioner for Children Paul Mason told Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper he believes the police may be able to bring a charge against Mr. Johnson because of its physical danger. "I know of one family friend's 7-year-old who walked into the pole outside the club on his way home from school because he and his little mate were ogling the picture of the rude lady,'' Mr. Mason said. Mr. Johnson remained defiant, telling the newspaper he will post bikini-clad models outside the club to advertise if the signs are removed.

Dateline: Italy—A stalwart surgeon in Naples finished a brain operation on a patient—despite suffering a heart attack in the operating room. Doctor Claudio Vitale, 59, realized his patient would never recover if he stopped the operation to seek treatment for himself. The doctor carried on for 30 minutes at Cardarelli hospital until his patient was out of trouble. Now both the surgeon and his patient are recovering in the hospital's intensive care unit. "I knew I couldn't leave the surgery then. I'm not really a hero, I just did my job," said Dr. Vitale.

Dateline: Oklahoma—Lying on what he believed to be his deathbed in an Oklahoma City hospital, 58-year-old James Brewer told his wife to call the police so he could confess to a 30-year-old murder. Unfortunately for Brewer, he didn’t die. The next week, the rapidly recovering stroke patient found himself in a Tennessee courtroom facing murder charges. Police were summoned to the hospital after Brewer, a Shawnee resident, suffered a stroke and was rushed there. Brewer’s wife told police her husband wanted to confess to killing a man he thought was involved with his wife in 1977. “He wanted to cleanse his soul, because he thought he was going to the great beyond,” Shawnee police detective Tony Grasso told The Oklahoman. Grasso interviewed Brewer at the hospital, but Brewer had trouble communicating because of the stroke he suffered. In the beginning, his wife agreed to translate for him but decided partway through the interview that they needed an attorney, Grasso said. Grasso photographed and fingerprinted Brewer and contacted authorities in Tennessee. Having survived his stroke, Brewer surrendered to Tennessee authorities last Thursday. He appeared in court Monday with the same lawyer he had almost 32 years ago when he was first arrested in the April 27, 1977 death of Jimmy Carroll. Back in 1977, Brewer was released on bail. He skipped town and legally changed his name instead of returning to trial. This time around, Brewer is being held in lieu of bail. A bail hearing is set for March 30.

Dateline: Oklahoma—An inmate at Oklahoma State Penitentiary was found beaten to death last Wednesday—just 15 minutes after he was accidentally placed in a cell with a man he ratted out on murder charges. Attorney Bill Smith worked out a plea agreement six years ago so Paul Duran Jr. would be young enough to enjoy life after he got out of prison. Duran, 23, was in jail over the March 2002 shooting death of 19-year-old Billy Ray Wayne. Duran, Warren Alan Plank and Jessie James Dalton all carried guns as they broke into Wayne’s Oklahoma City home and demanded money from the man and his family. Duran ended up testifying against Dalton in exchange for a lesser charge and a 28-year prison term. Smith told The Oklahoman newspaper he’s trying to find out how Duran ended up in a cell with Dalton. Since Duran testified against Dalton, the two men were ineligible to share a cell. That type of information is normally listed in a prisoner’s file, and it’s the responsibility of the supervising guards to check the file before assigning a prisoner a new cell mate, state Corrections Department spokesperson Jerry Massie said. To his knowledge, he added, no agency employees were put on suspension in connection with Duran’s death. The district attorney is looking into whether to file charges.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

 

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