Last Laugh! German Online Fraudster Protests Jail Term

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Today, we shall pause to make mock of this German internet fraudster who protests the jail term he was given by climbing up a 22 meter pole. PAT] A German father of five sentenced to jail for online fraud is protesting against his conviction by occupying the top of a 22 meter (72 foot) pole.

Fred Gregor, a 45-year-old lathe operator, has been squatting in a tiny cubicle atop the converted television mast since last Saturday morning in a bid to overturn the 15-month prison sentence he is due to start serving on March 1.

"I've been unfairly judged," he told Reuters from his perch in the village of Werben by telephone. "I want a new hearing."

In May 2006, a court in the eastern city of Dessau convicted Gregor after a man accused him of selling goods online that never arrived. The man told the court he tried to buy a laptop from Gregor but instead got a box filled with sand.

The court also found that Gregor's online business ventures were in breach of Germany's telecommunications law.

Gregor, who has a number of previous convictions, one of which involved setting up a Web site on which his wife stripped in front of a camera, said the judge at his trial was biased.

"He only based his decision on my past record," he said, adding that the judge had overseen all of his previous cases.

Since last weekend, Gregor said he had not left the rudimentary 3.25 square meter wooden box atop the pole, surviving on U.S. military surplus provisions and using a system of bags and pulleys as a toilet.

And his wife, 25-year-old Susanne Gregor, says she is very proud of him. "I'm backing him all the way," she said. "The children will know that their father stood up for what's right."

The unusual protest has attracted considerable attention from German media, and Gregor said he would not go quietly when authorities come to enforce his jail term.

"They'll have to come up here and get me," he said.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: What the man did not seem to realize (in his complaint about same judge hearing previous cases) is that although on your first trip into court, fairness indicates that a computer (or some random selection) is used to detirmine who shall be your judge, _future_ trips into court are given to the judge who heard your first case. If you were arrested twenty years ago, for example, dealt with and then re-arrested on some new charge this year, assuming the original judge is still alive and on the bench, _he_ will be assigned your new case, mainly, I suppose, to insure context to the matter.

So his wife is very proud of him, eh? PAT]

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