German carpenter acquitted after erecting fake speed camera at home | News | DW | 11.12.2018
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German carpenter acquitted after erecting fake speed camera at home

A Cologne man got off easy after being charged with unlawful assumption of public authority for building a fake speed camera and putting it outside his house. He told the court that drivers often sped past his home.

A district court in Cologne on Monday discontinued criminal proceedings against a 36-year-old man who placed a fake speed camera made of wood in front of his home.

About a year ago, Jannik Jung, a trained carpenter and building materials inspector who lives with two of his four kids in northern Cologne, built the phony contraption in an attempt to get people to adhere to the 30 kilometer-per-hour (19 mile-per-hour) speed limit in the sharp s-curve in front of his house.

"My children were afraid to cross the street," he said in court. Asked about deciding to erect the imitation camera, he said he spent "an arts and crafts afternoon" with his kids on a Saturday afternoon in 2015.

Jung was charged with unlawful assumption of public authority, a crime which can carry a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine. A car driver reported to him to police, according to reports.

Read more:  Naked cyclist caught by speed camera in Germany

Unaware of his crime

The defendant said that it did not occur to him that his actions were illegal. 

"I just wanted to remind people that the speed limit was 30 kilometers per hour," Jung said. "My goal was not to undermine official actions."

According to the court, Jung had previously contacted the city and the police several times and asked them to monitor speeds, pointing out that there was a kindergarten, a secondary school and a local recreation area nearby. 

Police had installed a measuring device for 30 days, but it only collected an average speed of 33 kilometers per hour — not high enough to take further actions. Jung maintained that the average results were misleading because they factored in rush-hour traffic when cars were at or near a standstill, arguing that motorists were speeding through the bends at other times.

The judge deemed Jung's actions "punishable, but understandable" and determined that he did not have the motive to harm anyone. Because of "little guilt," she therefore discontinued the proceedings.

Read more:  Switzerland: Duck snapped twice for speeding in 30km zone


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