A cat burglar has gone on trial in court accused of stealing a sausage with the prosecution demanding the judge throw the book at the feline felon.
The incident took place at the District Court of Zaporizhia in the northern Ukrainian city of the same name and was created as part of a project to allow children to see how the courthouse works without exposing them to some of the more unpleasant details that often come out during a trial involving adults.
It might explain why the black and white cat looked remarkably calm as his good name was besmirched with accusations he had stolen a sausage and with the schoolchildren acting as the jury to determine his fate.
The courtroom was real, and there was a real judge, prosecutor and defence lawyer present, but the defendant, Vaska, aka “The cat”, was expected to also treat the proceedings with respect, which he clearly failed to do by lying around on the table rather than standing head bowed in the dock.
The prosecutor demanded a severe punishment for Vaska, but the cat remained calm throughout the hearing.
Luckily, the feline’s experienced lawyer managed to convince the jury that Vaska did not steal the sausage or show any intent that it had planned to. The cat, he argued, was completely innocent.
Perhaps helped by the fact that it was a vegetarian sausage and unappealing to the four-legged defendant, the court finally acquitted Vaska of any wrongdoing. Somebody else, the lawyer pointed out, must clearly have done it.
A well as taking part in Vaska’s trial, the schoolchildren were given a tour of the district court and had to produce their own reports of the proceedings by creating drawings.
Olga Borodina, the Director of the Zaporizhzhya Local Centre for the Provision of FSLA (Free Secondary Legal Aid), the organisation that set up the event, told Central European News (CEN): ”The pleasure that all participants received from this event is difficult to convey in words.
“The brightest impression was made by the children, who sincerely worried about the cat, who can be sentenced to punishment, and actively participated in the discussion. For example, they asked to give it a “tender” punishment.
“Direct participation in an impromptu court hearing gave the children the opportunity to find out what justice is, who the prosecutor is, the lawyer, the judge, the free legal aid system and what each of them has.
“Everything was improvised. The cat, Vaska, even posed for the photographer as if playing up to the lawyer. And when the court “acquitted” the cat, there was no limit to the joy of the children.
“Such events make it clear that interactive events that increase legal awareness are more effective with children.”
One netizen commented: “I have a question, will the authorities be investigated for wrongly accusing the cat, and will it receive compensation?”
‘Khrystyna Mazurenko’ said: “It is so cute, a wonderful way of teaching kids about law and order.”
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