xxxNews Of The Weirdxxx
Bizarre but true stories about real people collected by syndicated columnist Chuck Shepherd.
James Samuel Steward suffered severe brain damage in May 1998 after he took an overdose of methadone that someone had smuggled into jail for him while he was an inmate in Goulburn, Australia. In May 2004, Steward’s parents filed a lawsuit on his behalf (because he is now unable to care for himself), claiming that it is the government’s fault that their son got tempted, in that it did not smuggle-proof the jail, and the Stewards are asking the equivalent of US$2.7 million.
Earlier this year, a worker compensation commission in Sydney, Australia, awarded benefits for “psychological injury” to teacher Jeff Sinclair, caused when Baulkham Hills High School fired him. The basis for the firing was his romantic relationship with a student, which began in 2000 when he was 49 (and the married father of three) and she was 15. Sinclair will receive from the government the equivalent of US$19,000, plus US$215 monthly for as long as his “injury” continues. Teacher and student now live together, as Sinclair and his wife have divorced. (And in May, Sinclair’s ex-wife said she would soon file a similar claim for “psychological injury,” before the same commission, also based on the firing of her then-husband.)
In April, the Alaska Court of Appeals upheld the legality of a police traffic stop of a car that an officer believed was the same car about which a report of occupants fighting had just been called in. The officer said he saw, through the rear window (according to an Anchorage Daily News report) that “the woman in the passenger seat was facing the driver (while the car was stopped for a red light), her left leg on top of the driver’s seat, wrapped around his head rest,” followed by the man’s moving to “lean over” the passenger. That the activity was sex, instead of fighting, was irrelevant, said the court, because either one creates a traffic-safety problem.
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Copyright © 2001 by Chuck Shepherd
NEWS OF THE WEIRD