From the court

Monaco Courts Take a Leaf From The “Wisdom of Solomon”

Black is white. The World is Square. Arrest the victim?

A young Moroccan man living on the edge in Spain, on 650 euros a month, decided to try his hand in Monaco at rapidly reversing his fortunes. His target, an elegant British couple enjoying a glass of wine at the bar of a luxury hotel in Monaco. The prize – a Chanel bag worth thousands of euros. Waiting for the lady to turn her eye, a quick grab for the bag and bolt for the hotel lobby. The lady’s husband gave chase. The cunning Moroccan feigned being the victim of an attempted robbery by this enraged Brit. Hotel staff to his rescue! The criminal made off with the stolen bag, while the Brit was detained by the hotel staff. Only later did the Hotel and police figure out the real story.

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This chameleon, who cleverly changed colours from robber to victim, probably turned a few shades of red faced with a stern judge. This criminal, however, was still good at stories: a little too much to drink and no memory of the incident apparently. The judge was not buying any of it. 8 days’ prison firm was his reward instead of the Chanel bag.

Better to Save his Nose for a Good Wine

Sniffing a small quantity of white powder by Port Antoine, a young Italian entrepreneur did not expect to be confronted by the police and arrested. He had bought a small packet of cocaine in front of one of the bars there. The police keep an eagle eye on activity outside the bars. Everything is under video-surveillance and they were quick to spot two suspicious characters approach him and sell him the packet of drugs. What saved the man a harsh penalty was his absolute honesty and contrition in front of the judge – and the quantity was so small he obviously could not be dealing. It was a silly habit and he didn’t realize he was breaking the law just consuming.

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The Prosecution argued for a stiff fine of 1000 euros. Their argument: consuming helps dealers who keep the gangs in business. And the circle is complete when enough funds arrive at source to keep the poppy fields in cultivation. Dealing would have led the man straight to jail. For consuming, the judge granted some leniency and cut the fine to 800 euros; enough to deter. A costly habit at the end of the day!

Grand Prix racing on a child’s bike!

Sometimes the Courts need the wisdom of Solomon. What to do in the case of a crime committed by someone with limited mental capacity? An unemployed, homeless youth from Bordeaux came to the Côte d’Azur to steal. What did he steal? A child’s bike; and then oblivious to the ridiculousness of the situation rode it around the platforms of Monaco station at 5.30 in the morning as if he were on a Grand Prix race track. Sooner or later the police were going to intercept him. It happened sooner!

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Quick-witted enough to deny the theft; dim-witted enough not to get his story straight about how he came in possession of the bike. But he did try to talk his way out of trouble with facts that just didn’t make any sense to the police. Obviously, some poor kiddy somewhere was crying at the loss of his two-wheeler. A no-show in court, and a file of prior offenses for theft as thick as a telephone book. The Prosecution argued for up to a month jail-time.

The judge’s opinion: jail-time would not help in a situation of someone with limited mental capacity. Pronounced: a suspended sentence of 5 days.

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