Coronavirus: German dissident lawyer provides an intriguing sequel

Since our first article on Beate Bahner, the medical lawyer who shot to international attention with her descriptions of police brutality and psychiatric internment for her calls upon the German people to protest against unconstitutional Coronavirus containment measures, the German mainstream and alternative media have been carrying a raft of claims and counter-claims about the story, including that Ms Bahner told the crowds assembled to protest at the Heidelberg criminal police headquarters that she had acquired her head and knee injuries in a "drunken fall from her bicycle" (a claim for which we can find no primary source).

In the current confusion, we present below without comment Ms Bahner's own latest statement of Thursday 16 April 2020 on her police interview of the previous day.

On Wednesday 15 April 2020, Beate Bahner attended her appointment to be interviewed by Heidelberg Police Department. When offered legal assistance by the police for the appointment, she expressly declined it. Since she was not personally handed her interview report but can only obtain it by lodging a request to view it at the state prosecutor's office, what follows is only her recollection of the interview in summary.

The police official first explained that prosecution proceedings had been initiated against her pursuant to her breach of the Coronavirus Regulations of all 16 federal states as well as her call to demonstrate on Easter Saturday 2020, since she had thereby perpetrated public incitement to commit criminal acts within the meaning of Article 111 of the Penal Code.

First, Bahner emphatically confirmed that this call had been made by her alone, and that her home page was operated by her alone; no-one besides her and her secretary had [editing] access to it.

Then, the police official explained that there was a schedule of fines in place for infringement of the Coronavirus Regulations. These regulations were based, he said, on Article 28 of the Infection Prevention Act.

Bahner replied that regrettably, she was not yet familiar with the Infection Prevention Act [as recently amended].

She then expressed herself as follows:

"May I first extend my apologies to the police and the state prosecutor's office for the major uproar that I have caused. I am sorry that the police were so very bothered by the presence of around 200 people in front of police headquarters at 1 pm. All I did was call for support, since I was not confident of my standing in the new legal régime.

Actually, I was on holiday for the past fortnight. I was undertaking several city trips, between each of which I was only briefly back in Heidelberg.

In the first two weeks of April, I was first in Berlin, visiting museums and opera houses.

Then, I went to Paris, particularly to take in the Louvre and enjoy a cruise down the Seine.

No sooner was I back in Heidelberg than I flew to London, to visit more friends, rummage in fancy stores, enjoy the grand museums and attend the Royal Opera House."

Bahner then reiterated how sorry she was: she had barely been away for two weeks and so much had changed in the world of law. In normal times, she had consulted the Federal Law Gazette daily to keep abreast of developments. In addition, she always tried to conduct herself lawfully and legally, and to behave rationally in both her professional and private life.

Now, she had only taken a short vacation and was having to get to grips with the biggest legal development of her entire lifetime.

Nevertheless, she pleaded extenuating circumstances in this case. For one thing, this was the first time she had ever become such a flagrant lawbreaker.

For another, she was as yet unable to locate the statutory offence "demonstrating/assembling/collecting in a public place" in the Penal Code. Accordingly, she once again offered her apologies for all these circumstances, while also promising to delete the names of the investigating police officers from both of the police documents [which the police had sent her]. Admittedly, there were no grounds for this in data protection legislation, particularly since the police officer in question had evidently been bombarded with hundreds of telephone calls a day since publication. With that in mind, Bahner repeated her apologies for the breach of data protection law, even though the nature of the breach had not been clear to her.

The rest of the conversation took place in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere, in the presence of two non-legal counsels. The interview lasted about half an hour.

Enquiries will now continue. It may be that they result in a charge for breach of Article 111. Alternatively, the outcome may be an order for summary punishment or a suspension of proceedings on condition of bail. Finally, also under consideration is a stay of proceedings due to insufficient evidence to substantiate the suspicion, as per Article 170.2 of the Criminal Procedure Code. That option, however, is essentially off the table, given that the charge is calling upon 83 million people to commit a criminal offence.