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Accidental SMS lands man in legal hot water

Mobile phone
Proving intent to send an offensive SMS appears to be a tricky matter

In a bizarre case of technology getting its masters into trouble, a man in Germany has been fined for accidentally sending a racist SMS from his mobile phone.

The unnamed German from Lindau in south Germany received a junk text last summer around the time the national football team was to play Turkey in Euro 2008 that said "By opening this SMS, you have killed a Turk."

Police discovery

Apparently, he then – accidentally, he claims - followed instructions to forward the message on by sending it to the first person in his phone's address book.

The twist in the tale then became apparent when the court heard the message only came to light when the recipient had his home searched and mobile examined by police in an unrelated matter.

Racial charges

The upshot of the incident was that the court fined the sender €1,800 (£1,600), although it could have been worse had the original charge of inciting racial hatred stuck, as that comes with possible jail time.

His lawyer underlined the vague nature of the case, saying: "It's a farcical story really... my client is a conscientious objector and his brother-in-law is a Turk."