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‘Snowball sniper’ judge faces removal

27 January 2004

DUMSTORF – A judge in Germany dubbed the “snowball sniper” was urged Tuesday voluntarily to remove himself from the bench or face disciplinary measures following a weekend incident in which he shot and wounded a teenager who inadvertently hit his house with snowballs.

The 55-year-old judge, who also faces possible criminal charges, of attempted manslaughter was told by the state justice ministry in Hanover to seek a transfer to another town.

“Under the circumstances, that seems the best course of action since he can hardly continue to be magistrate in the little community of Dumstorf,” said ministry spokesman Wolfgang Due.

Two boys were engaged in a lively snowball fight in Dumstorf in northern Germany over the weekend when a few snowy missiles struck the magistrate’s house by mistake.

The enraged homeowner opened fire with two shots from a double- barrel shot gun, wounding a 16-year-old youth in the upper arm. The boy was treated at a local hospital and later released.

“While that does not quite fill the bill for attempted murder, it most certainly constitutes attempted manslaughter,” said Lueneburg Chief Prosecutor Juergen Witter.

The unnamed judge has declined to comment on the incident.

Subject: German news