Austrian Man Makes Case For Lower Fine After “Deliberately” Farting At Police
Bertrand Hauger

In Austria, they call it Darmwind — literally "bowel wind."

In June 2020, a man was fined 500 euros for intentionally letting one such Darwmind go at police officers approaching him for an identity check as he sat on a bench in a Viennese park. The Vienna Regional Administrative Court has now reduced the fine to 100 euros.

As Austrian daily Der Standard recalls, the deliberate flatulence — and the hefty fine that ensued — had made serious headlines last year, with international media catching wind of the affair. Police at the time had justified the inflated penalty by saying the suspect "had already behaved in a provocative and uncooperative manner" before letting her rip.

The individual had appealed the fine, arguing that the incriminated gas was merely a "biological process' that had escaped him. The suspect also argued that the targeted fart should be considered public criticism of police forces, `and thus within "freedom of expression" rights.

Unconvinced by such a line of defense, the court responded that to fall within freedom of expression purview, a statement still had to convey certain "communicative content" — which, in the case of this "pure body stimuli," was not the case.

Ultimately, considering this was the man's first offense (as offensive as it may have been), the court decided to reduce the fine to 100 euros. So it seems that this singular story, as Swiss daily Le Matin concludes, is gone with the wind ...

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