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Farmer escapes jail time for killing hemp thief

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The castle at Schwarzenburg. Photo: Canton of Bern
22:21 CET+01:00
A 50-year-old farmer from Schwarzenburg in the canton of Bern escaped on Tuesday with a suspended two-year jail sentence for killing a man who was stealing hemp plants from one of his fields.

The farmer was convicted of manslaughter after a Bern-Mittelland court heard testimony about the case, dating back to the night of December 21st 2010, the SDA German-language news agency reported.

The 32-year-old victim was one of three men caught stealing hemp, legally grown under a permit, from the farmer’s garden.

Alerted by a surveillance system, the farmer grabbed his gun and fired a warning shot through a window of his home, according to court testimony.

After the intruders threw stones at him, he fired at one of the fleeing men, hitting him in the right shoulder blade, causing a fatal injury.

The prosecutor sought the suspended sentence, likening the shooting to a crime of passion.

The farmer was earlier subjected to repeated hemp thefts and burglary attempts at the secluded farm, the SDA reported.

This had caused him stress and anxiety, the defence argued.

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