In February 2000 newspapers reported an astonishing hoax that took place on the island of Sicily. The ringleader of the hoax was an Italian judge. He decided to stage a fake court case with the sole purpose of having a laugh at a lawyer from the mainland. The date was fixed, the court proceedings announced, and a female prosecutor, Iolanda Apostolica was brought across from mainland Italy. Everybody was in on the joke, except for Ms Apostolica. The aim of the hoax was to spend the entire case laughing at her behind her back. To heighten her humiliation the judge assigned everyone involved in the case a name drawn from Sicilian slang. He was to be known as Judge Licazzi, the Defence lawyer as Mr Crastello and a court officer as Ms Sbardasciata. For those of you unfamiliar with Sicilian slang, Licazzi means testicles, Crastello means castrated and Sbardasciata means cretinous. So for the entire proceedings, as the prosecution lawyer argued what she thought was a genuine case, she was referring to his honour Mr Testicles, defence lawyer Mr Castrated and Court Officer Ms Cretinous.

The first the prosecution layer knew something was amiss was when a colleague flashed her a sign that said “They joke about you in court”. When she returned home she described her day to her boyfriend Claudio, who just happened to be a university tutor in Rome who knew Sicilian slang.

Once she had put two and two together you can imagine how Iolanda felt – embarrassed, shamed and humiliated. The next day her boyfriend Claudio showed up at court, walked up to the judge’s bench and spat the judge in the eye, then left a note that read “A joke from Claudio Moffa”.

You wouldn’t believe it but the judge brought real charges against Claudio. Claudio defended himself on the grounds that he was reclaiming his girlfriend’s honour. He lost and was given a suspended prison sentence. At the time the Sydney Morning Herald reported the judge was facing disciplinary proceedings.

Source: Incident reported in Sydney Morning Herald, 18/2/2000