A COURT in Düsseldorf, West Germany, found a juvenile prosecutor guilty yesterday of causing physical harm and perverting justice by caning 22 delinquent youths instead of prosecuting them.
Ulrich Baehringer, 42, was given a two-year suspended sentence for using a bamboo cane, curtain rail or belt to beat the bare bottoms of youths aged between 13 and 17.
"He placed his own educational ideas before the law, and that is perverting justice," the court ruled.
He administered the canings at the homes of the juvenile offenders with their approval or that of their parents. In return he dropped charges for a variety of misdemeanours, including theft and using motor-cycles without a licence.
He told the court he carried out the punishment "on the grounds of education" and said that he was beaten on his bare bottom at the age of 16 by his father. It was "a quite normal form of chastisement."
Baehringer was suspended on half pay as a juvenile prosecutor in Kleve after his use of corporal punishment came to light in 1983, and was convicted later that year by a Düsseldorf court of causing physical harm to the youths.
However, the suspended one-year prison sentence was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court which ordered a retrial because the lower court failed to rule on the second charge of perverting justice, punishable with one to five years in prison.
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