A catapult in Berlin: Strafbefehl translated into English

Andreas Jede is a German lawyer (Rechtsanwalt) who has a blog on German weapons law: Deutsches Waffenrecht (found via Jurablogs). His latest post is about an American who brought a catapult (US slingshot, German Zwille) as a present for his nephews in Berlin and was fined 900 euros plus costs. The catapult was only a little thing, but banned; he could have got away with a crossbow (then could have used it to shoot lions too).

One interesting thing is that a certified translation of the Strafbefehl is shown on the site.

I have recorded Strafbefehl as order of summary punishment – it’s called ‘penal order’ in this translation – and have often done certified translations of them for the German courts. It’s a bit like a parking ticket: for a minor offence, you are sent this document which convicts you provided you accept the conviction and pay a fine, or allows you to appeal and in this way start court proceedings.

About certified translations for the German courts, I intend to write a separate post when I get round to it. You can see here that at the beginning it says ‘Certified translation from the German language’ followed by a line. At the end comes the translator’s certification – I would have put a line and certified under the line, but in this case the translator didn’t want to use a third page and has put the certification in italics. The translator’s stamp and signature have been omitted for reasons of privacy.

It’s a good translation. I do have a grammatical quibble with ‘thirty daily rates’ – I would say ‘thirty daily units’. The German term Tagessatz, by the way, is not an instalment – it’s an amount regarded by the court as appropriate for the financial circumstances of the payer. To my mind, ‘rate’ in this sense is uncountable, and there was a time when weekly ‘units’ were introduced in England, but I think the tabloid press killed them – when people heard how much rich people were paying per week for trivial offences, they were shocked.

Anyway, back to the offence:

Lieber Gutmensch, erklären Sie mir bitte, warum er auch mit diesem Kinderspielzeug genauso hart bestraft worden wäre, genau genommen sogar noch härter, weil er die erheblichen Gutachterkosten hätte bezahlen müssen?

There’s something wonderfully German about the calculations that must be made by an expert witness to determine if the catapult breaches the law:

Der Gutachter muß nämlich feststellen, ob die maximale Bewegungsenergie der Geschossspitzen je Flächeneinheit von 0,16 J/cm2 überschritten wird (Anlage 1, Abschnitt 1, Unterabschnitt 1.2.2 WaffG).

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