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POLICE

Wind of justice: Austrian man fined for farting on police has sentence reduced on appeal

The 500 fine issued by Vienna police for a "provocative" fart made headlines around the world last year.

People in the Stadt Park in Vienna
JOE KLAMAR / AFP

The Viennese man was given the fine after “letting wind escape loudly” last June, following an identity check by police in a park Der Standard newspaper reports. 

The news made headlines across the world, forcing Vienna police to issue a clarification on social media that “of course no-one will be reported for accidentally ‘letting one go’ once”.

The man had challenged the fine, saying although he had farted, this was a “biological process”, which would have amounted to freedom of expression even if it had been done deliberately. 

The administrative court reduced the penalty from €500 euros to €100 euros, pointing to the man’s lack of a criminal record while saying he only had “average” culpability of the offence

Friends ‘laughed and made jokes’

The Vienna Regional Administrative Court stated in its ruling that the man was on a park bench, when he lifted his buttocks and let the wind escape in a way which was perceived by everyone present.

The man’s friends laughed and joked about the incident.

According to the administrative court, the basic right to freedom of communication is not limited to a certain form of communication, but a statement must also have a certain “communicative content”.

However, this is not the case with “pure body stimuli”, the court said, according to the newspaper report.

Makes state order ‘ridiculous’

It concluded even if it were accepting that farting were to accept an act of communication, the wind would still be a “form of expression that transcends the boundaries of decency”. 

The court added “form of action seems suitable to completely undermine any state order and to make it ridiculous”, according to Der Standard newspaper. 

The paper also features comments from Paul Eberstaller, university assistant at the Juridicum, who says the ruling shows how problematic the offence of decency is, particularly when comparing public and private life. 

“If a private person had been a ‘victim’ in this case, public decency would not be violated. In addition, the authorities would probably not pursue complaints from private individuals. At the same time, legal protection is often lacking in the event of actual problems,” he said. 

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VIENNA

What’s on: Five things to do in Vienna this weekend

Vienna is full of events, places to visit and great new restaurants to try out. If you are overwhelmed with the possibilities or just wondering where you can find a cafe with a fireplace, here are some ideas.

What's on: Five things to do in Vienna this weekend

Haus der Musik

Austria and its capital Vienna are known for their connection to the world of music, from classical names to more recent rock, pop and hip hop creations. 

In Vienna, one of the best museums for all ages is the house of music, with information and many interactive experiences will teach you how sound is created and show you pieces from the city’s philharmonic. 

One of the highlights is the staircase between floors that acts as a piano allowing visitors to compose their music. 

You can find more information here.

Long night in the museum

Definitely one of the coolest events in any city. This weekend is the time to visit Viennese museums way after hours – the event is actually Austria-wide and you can check all participating institutions here.

On Saturday, the 1st of October, the “ORF Long Night of Museums” takes place. From 6 pm to 1 am, numerous museums open their doors and offer a diverse program for young and old. The regular tickets cost 15 euros, discounted tickets 12 euros and regionally limited tickets six euros. Admission is free for children up to the age of twelve.

You can find more information here.

Café Jelinek

As the weather gets colder and the weekend promises some rain, of course staying indoors is a good idea. Vienna is full of beautiful cafes to visit and enjoy, but Jelinek has a charm of its own.

The traditional coffee house not only has delicious food in a great environment, but visitors can also enjoy some warmth straight from the fireplace (no extremely high gas bills here!).

You can find more information here.

Vienna Comic Con 

This weekend, Austria’s capital is hosting the Vienna Comic Con. Comic fans can meet up and enjoy the event with some great guests. Besides famous comic artists, fantasy authors, and voice actors, there are cosplay guests and entertainment guests. One of them is Jack Gleeson, the actor who played Joeffrey in Game of Thrones. 

The comic con also has thrilling esports tournaments, free-to-play areas, and more. 

You can find more information here.

Visit a heuriger

Not ready to say goodbye to heuriger season just yet? There are many unique places still open and worth a visit before it gets too old outside. 

The classic suggestion is Heuriger Wieninger, in the 21st district. Besides the house wine, there’s a buffet with warm and cold dishes, all in the traditional ambiance of a heuriger. 

You can find more information here.

Do you know any other cool events happening in Vienna during the weekends? You can email us at [email protected] to share your tips and suggestions.

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