A teacher suing her students, animal antics and a guy who blamed his TV for letting his wife get fat. Check out the bizarre legal battles below!
Pooh gets sued
The case: A court in Macedonia heard the case of a beekeeper who was a little out of pocket. He claimed that a local bear had been sneaking into his hives and stealing honey. The beekeeper claimed that he tried to distract the bear with lights and music, but without success.
The verdict: Believe it or not, the court awarded in favour of the beekeeper. Although the bear was excused from attending court, he was ordered to pay 140,000 denars (£1,700) for the damage caused to the hives. Because the bear had no owner and, presumably, no money, the government stumped up the cash instead.
Snakes: a valid defence
The case: A driver was given a parking penalty for leaving her car outside a building with the engine running. Her excuse was that she had a carful of snakes, which she was going to use for her belly-dancing act. She didn't want the snakes to fall asleep in a cold car, so the running engine helped them stay awake ready for the act.
The verdict: The court ruled that she had good reason to leave her engine on, and let the belly-dancing snake charmer walk free.
Don't be mean to teacher
The case: A teacher at Dartmouth College is filing a lawsuit against her own students, because she claims that they have violated her civil liberties. Priya Venkatesan claims that the students were so unreceptive of her French narrative theory that their attitude made for a hostile working environment.'
The verdict: The case has not yet been heard, but if the teacher wins it could set an interesting precedent. Make sure you're polite to your teachers from now on!
Are chimps people too?
The case: Animal activists in Austria caused problems for the legal system when they tried to get Hiasl a chimpanzee legally declared a person. After Hiasl's animal sanctuary went bankrupt, the activists wanted to support him. Unfortunately, donations that have been offered to support the chimp can only legally be received by a person. In case anyone worries that declaring Hiasl a person could cause legal issues, one of the activists makes things a bit clearer: We want him to have the right to life, the right to not be tortured, the right to freedom under certain conditions. We're not talking about the right to vote here.
The verdict: The court dismissed the case, having decided that it couldn't go ahead anyway. They recognised that, person or not, as Hiasl was not mentally handicapped he could not have the activists make court claims on his behalf. The activists are planning to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Guy sues fattening TV
The case: Timothy Dumouchel, a couch potato from Wisconsin, tried to sue a cable TV company in 2004. His argument was that it was the TV company's fault that his wife was fat. He also claimed that they had turned his children into lazy channel surfers. He requested damages of around £2500, but said he'd settle for three computers and a lifetime of free internet service.
The verdict: After pressure from the cable company, Dumouchel eventually dropped his claim. It was suggested that he and his family could simply have chosen to watch something enlightening, perhaps even while exercising.