Pope prosecuted/Papst angezeigt

I am eventually mentioning this incident because it’s being reported erroneously as Pope Sued (BoingBoing, quoting Lowering the Bar. The latter says:

Sundermann’s client surely does not have standing to sue to enforce the seatbelt law, and even if he did the Papst would have diplomatic immunity as a head of state.

Well, yes, he probably does have diplomatic immunity, but this related to criminal offences and anzeigen is what we call in England laying an information or reporting someone to the police. And why would anyone not have standing (the US term, which I prefer to the English locus standi) to make a criminal complaint?

Lowering the Bar links to a German report in Der Westen and to an English report in the Irish Times, and even the latter has the facts right – it refers to a misdemeanour, a term also familiar in American criminal law.

Lawyer Johannes Christian Sundermann has filed papers in Dortmund on behalf of his unnamed client, charging the Pope with “repeated breaches” of Germany’s seat belt law.
“Herr Joseph Ratzinger, born 16 April 1927 in Marktl/Altötting” travelled on September 24th and 25th “for the duration of more than an hour” without a seat belt, the lawyer states in documents.
Mr Sundermann and his client say they can prove the repeated misdemeanour during his visit to Freiburg – using videos from YouTube.

I don’t think much of the Irish Times’ closing line:

In Germany, rules are rules.

One does love one’s national prejudices. But I think it is quite conceivable for something like this to happen in the UK, assuming (improbably) that a British cleric with highly conservative views became Pope and kept his British passport.

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