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Think criminals can't be funny? These 7 actual courtroom defenses will blow your mind

Ranjan Crasta | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 2:37 IST

If there's one thing Salman Khan taught us this year, it's that not only is justice blind, it's sometimes deaf, dumb and really bizarre as well. But while Salman had the influence and money to escape the not-so-long arm of the law, other criminals aren't as lucky. So they try to make up for it with imagination and creativity in the courtroom.

We dug out seven of the craziest criminal defenses served up in courtrooms around the world in 2015.

01
Bollywood made me do it

Sandesh Baliga lives in Australia but comes from the Bollywood school of romance. And, like all true Bollywood romantics, he knows how to woo the ladies. No, not by dancing around trees in the rain but by stalking his love interest - and not one but two ladies.

Unlike every Bollywood movie ever though, Baliga's women didn't end up weak in the knees. Well, from terror maybe. Or at least that's what the two stalking charges against him seemed to indicate.

Baliga stalked one woman for 18 months, the other for 4, but insisted he'd just learnt it from Bollywood. His lawyer even argued that this sort of behaviour was "quite normal" for Indian men...

Also read - A year full of bizarre crimes, but these ones are jaw-droppers

And the judge agreed.

Baliga got away without a criminal record, because clearly, the judge was from the Bollywood School of Justice. New problem? Baliga now has an additional belief in fairytale endings.

02
Your honour, I do not understand sarcasm

Responding to a gas station clerk's complaint about counterfeit money, Tennessee police traced a fake five dollar bill to Pamela Downs. The bill in question had been printed on regular paper, then glued together badly.

How the clerk accepted the note in the first place is amazing, but being an idiot isn't a jailable offense.

When police searched Pamela, they found another bill, this one in black and white with the back printed upside down. At this point most people would just give up and surrender.

Not Pamela.

She argued that she'd read a news article which said Obama had made a new law allowing people to print their own money. Which would've been a pretty sound defense, except that the article was satirical.

When she was being arrested she even said, "I don't give a ****, all these other bitches get to print money so I can too."

Yes Pamela, they do, but those bitches probably work for the US treasury.

03
This defense takes balls

Some people like to go to nightclubs. Some to movies. Or restaurants. Not Florida's Stephen Van Alphen. Stephen likes to get tanked for three days on vodka while wearing a revealing poncho that leaves little (read: nothing) to the imagination.

Which is fine, pants should be strictly optional in the privacy of one's own home. Except Stephen did all of this in full public view, even exposing his jewels further while attempting a "ninja move".

But unlike ninjas who normally remain unseen, Stephen exposed himself to a six-year-old, to his neighbours and to officers trying to arrest him.

Because really, what ninja is afraid of the police?

If that was ballsy, his defense was even better. Stephen thought he couldn't possibly have exposed himself. Why? Because he believes his genitals were "too small for anyone to see [it] anyway."

He was jailed on charges of indecent exposure and resisting arrest. Luckily they didn't charge him with painfully harsh modesty as well.

04
Too drunk to be guilty

Salman Khan tried every trick in the book to get away from a conviction in his hit-and-run case. Well almost every, because drunken drivers in the US of A have aced a pretty spectacular defense.

A volunteer firefighter, Trevor Clarke, ran over a cyclist while under the influence and then fled the scene of the accident. The impact was so severe it left his victim with a traumatic brain injury and no memory of the accident.

But while Clarke was found guilty of causing bodily harm while driving under the influence, he got away without a second charge of fleeing the scene. Because the judge ruled that he was too drunk to realise he'd run over someone!

Elsewhere in the US, a Vermont man was found not guilty of intentionally ramming into a police vehicle. Which he totally did. After missing two police vehicles that managed to get out of the way in the nick of time.

He argued that he was too drunk to realise what he was doing and the jury agreed. Makes you wonder what influence the jury was under at the time.

05
Justice - Game of Thrones style

Richard Luthmann is a lawyer in New York - one who takes the term 'courtroom defense' to a whole new level.

After he was accused of helping a client commit fraud, Luthmann demanded a trial, which is his right.

Except the trial he was demanding was a trial by combat.

Luthmann, who confesses to being a massive Game of Thrones fan, demanded that the plaintiff face him in a battle to the death or drop the case.

Luthmann's argument was that New York's laws do not expressly forbid trial by combat, so technically he was within his rights. He might not be the best lawyer in the world, but he's certainly the most committed.

And soon may be, to a nuthouse.

06
Love Jihad

ISIS is a very real threat. So when Dutch and Moroccan authorities arrested Mohammed B on suspicions of being part of an ISIS cell looking to bomb the Netherlands, they were relieved. After all, they had his chat conversations where he confessed to travelling to Libya for combat training.

But they hadn't counted on one of the strangest defenses of all time.

Mohammed's lawyer argued that he wasn't a terrorist. He was just pretending to be a terrorist to get some halal poon.

His modus operandi: he would pose as a brave mujahideen in an attempt to get laid by random Muslim women on Facebook. His lawyer even pointed to chat conversations with random niqab-clad women that started piously enough before escalating into attempts to get into their pants... er... burqas.

And that thing about going to Libya? Well, he's never been there either apparently. Whether the court buys his defense remains to be seen. One thing though is clear: Mohammed was less interested in the 72 heavenly virgins than he was in the ones in the here and now.

07
I didn't rape her, I slipped

It took a jury just 30 minutes to acquit a 46-year-old Saudi millionaire of rape. A judgment that quick was probably based on a watertight case, you'd think.

Except Ehsan Abdulaziz certainly didn't have one.

What he did have were charges of raping an 18-year-old girl who was asleep on his couch. The police found his DNA inside her vagina. And Abdulaziz didn't even refute that he'd penetrated her.

Also read - Saudi millionaire cleared of rape after he tells court he 'tripped and fell on' victim

The teenager's version of the case was that she woke up to find Abdulaziz on top of her, kissing her. He then proceeded to penetrate her with his penis. Seems fairly open and shut, but Aziz had a different story to tell.

His defense was that it was an accident. He'd been having sex with another woman, and while walking past the teenager he slipped... and fell penis first into her vagina. But he's not even claiming that this is how his semen got into her vagina. Nope, that would have been too easy.

Abdulaziz claimed that he had semen on his hands from his previous sexual encounter and that the teen pushed his hands down toward her vagina.

We're not sure how Abdulaziz made his millions, but if he can sell that story, is there anything he can't sell?

First published: 25 December 2015, 1:13 IST
 
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