Letter from Prague

 

False Advertising

[Editor’s Note: The following “Personals” advertisement in a Czechoslovakian newspaper sparked some pretty crazy litigation in the pretty crazy legal career of Klára Samková, who has published in these pages before:

Lonely lovely assie  [NOT “Aussie,” but rather denoting a tiny ass or buttocks] looking for skilled chimney sweep for maintaining of the conjoint facilities and/or even more.

There was a phone number as well. That was when the fun began.]

You could not find a vulgar term in that ad however much you tried. [Editor’s Note: I did try, for days, and failed.]

It just stated something in the sense of the lady concerned having very positive vibes as far as sex was concerned and right at this moment needed fellow implementors in order to satisfyingly be able to express this predisposition. But, lo and behold, soon after this advertisement was placed a nonstop flurry of criminal complaints were filed and charges pressed.

The reason? It wasn’t actually a sexually frustrated lady who placed this sexually risqué ad, but a completely different lady, to be precise Lady No. 2, who happened to leave a telephone contact for the aforementioned Lady No. 1.

Yes, you’ve guessed it: gent intimately linked to both ladies was one and the same, but wishing to avoid spreading fallacies insinuating a case of bigamy, the ladies did follow on from each other in the gent’s favours. When the gent concerned came to see me he brought documents amounting to quite a few files which contained the granting and retraction of the Power of Attorney to several lawyers (also following on from one another), and that concerned criminal as well as civil court accusations.

For the matter to be even more complicated one feels dutybound to state that the aforementioned Gent No. 1 had wee bairns with Lady No. 1 as well as Lady No. 2. Furthermore, gent was still married to Lady No. 1 and as yet not married to Lady No. 2.

The crux of the problem lay in Lady No. 1 being quite au fait with Gent No. 1, as part of his duties of caring for their kids, would also include caring for the youngest wee one which he conceived with Lady No. 2, but that this contact would solely take place in Lady No. 1’s flat and Lady No. 1’s little ones would never ever in their entire life cross Lady No. 2’s path. She is after all, sayeth Lady No. 1, a wench of extremely low morals who landed her, a woman of untainted virtue, with a herd of sex-starved men whereas she, the poor seduced and abandoned wretch is of course able to hug and kiss Lady No. 2’s baby at will…

Another small factor complicating matters was that Lady No. 2 had from her previous marriage partner two other children and so, all in all, Gent No. 1 was responsible for five sprightly tearaways of which two pairs were siblings quite homogeneous – i.e. children belonging to Lady No. 1 and Gent No. 1 and, additionally, Lady No. 2’s child with an altogether different gent (who by now had fortunately left the scene), and, furthermore, one petite child being a part-sibling to both the homogeneous pairs. If you’ve become lost in this then please believe me that I drew a graph and recommend that you do the same. [Editor’s Note: I did try, but never having been any good at Pictionary, failed.]

I was asked to arrange things to ensure that Lady No. 2’s children, both the homogeneous (or rather the part-siblings) as well as the nonhomogeneous ones, were able to develop brotherly and sisterly relationships with Lady No.1’s kids whilst making absolutely sure that these kids belonging to Lady No. 1 never came physically anywhere near Lady No. 2’s home (and, one mustn’t forget, daddy too) – an absolutely uncompromising condition set by Lady No. 1.

I suggested to the client (Gent No. 1) that as a favour I’d give him a contact for an ex-client of mine whose job was setting up the logistical systems of the company J.D. Edwards. As far as I was aware my ex-client’s last job was the programming of the unloading process of oil tankers in the port of Hamburg – which seemed to me sound preparation for solving the problematics of contacts between the children. To my amazement Gent No. 1 didn’t agree to my proposal that co-operation be established with my former client and demanded that a solution be found within the remits of Family Law.

I really didn’t fancy that but as he insisted I started (to his great wonderment) to draw graphs of relocations: who, when and where should appear, or, as the case may be, who, when and where from should he or she take off – and with a heavy heart picked up the Civil Legal Code manual and quoted par. 885. That says:

If only one parent cares for a child, the husband or partner also shares in the caring process of the child and his or her upbringing if living with the child in a family household.

There is no doubt that even though Lady No. 1’s children do not live in a joint household with Lady No. 2 permanently, they will be living with her at the time when they will have contact with the father and with one´s part-sibling. Thus, I expressed, in a slightly meandering interpretation of the law, the opinion that the demand made by Lady No. 1, of refusing any contacts whatsoever between her children and Lady No. 2 (who, by the way, is mum of their part-sibling) was dumb. [Editor’s Note: I tried to determine whether this is an official Czech legal term, and failed.]

Further, I asked what actually fired up Lady No. 2 so much that she assailed Lady No. 1 with such a moronic advertisement? Oh well, Lady No. 1 kept sending Gent No. 1 unceasing text messages. What does unceasing mean? Well, it means on a daily basis. OK, what does daily basis mean? Hmm, like ten. Sorry?? TEN TEXT MESSAGES A DAY?? Yep, ten text messages every day and if Gent No. 1 didn’t respond immediately to Lady No. 1’s communication the lady in question telephoned right away asking why he didn’t answer.

I expressed my surprise that Lady No. 2 didn’t use an axe on Lady No. 1 instead of placing an ad, and articulated my consolation that even if the advertisement resulted in criminal proceedings against Lady No. 2 for the criminal act of infringing another person’s rights, it managed to stop the harassment. But it DIDN’t stop! Excuse me? Thing is, I’m still getting those ten text messages a day, said Gent No. 1 and showed me in his smartphone with an extended memory in which he received 700 text messages over the previous two months from Lady No. 1. Has he told anyone about it? No, Gent No. 1 never said a word to a living soul because — is it of any significance?? I quivered and for a change picked off the shelf the Criminal Code law book, to be specific focusing on par. 354 under the heading of Dangerous Harassments:

(1) Whosoever harasses another person on a long-term basis by… c) persistently harassing them through the use of electronic communication, in writing or other form…
and such an action reasonably makes that person fearful for his life or health, or life and/or health of his kith and kin, he will be punished by a sentence of maximum of one year in jail or an Order will be made for harassment to cease.

At the time when the advertisement was placed, this section of the Criminal Law as yet did not apply, so Lady No. 2 defended herself lousily, nay even stupidly, but most clearly in self-defense.

At the present time, when the new enactment has come into force (even though “such action reasonably makes that person fearful for his life or health” — i.e. I’d definitely feel threatened, at least in terms of my common sense – is a formulation which seems to me to be a little shaky) the activities of Lady No. 1 can simply be defined as stalking. So, in my view, Lady No. 1 should belt up and in order to solve her problems should seek an altogether different path to the one chosen thus far. At the same time it would do no harm if Lady No. 2 apologised to Lady No. 1 in writing.

Gent No. 1 was taken aback by my proposal… Eventually it ended up by Gent No. 1 taking Lady No. 2’s surname in order that Lady No. 1 took on board that he no longer had anything to do with her. An exchange of criminal police complaints – against Lady No. 2 because of the advertisement she placed about Lady No. 1, and against Lady No. 1 because of her incessant text stalking – was played into touch by me by mediating with the relevant courts, ensuring no criminal record ended on file. So, apart from a healthy contribution to my bank account for my legal fees, nothing much really happened.

Apart from this, for the clients undoubtedly an unpleasant circumstance, I convinced myself of one thing: if, by any chance, J.D. Edwards’ logistical set-up dealing with the unloading of oil tankers in the port of Hamburg collapsed they can relax and ring me. After representing Gent No. 1 I’d manage some silly Hamburg blindfolded.

[Editor’s Note: I tried to find out if the Hamburg agents did their work blindfolded anyway, and failed.]

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