A drugs trial had to be suspended after a cat being used as evidence escaped and prosecutors attempted to replace it with a different animal.
The stray cat is believed to have taken up residence in a Russian penal colony – a common type of prison in Russia – in the city of Tula in the Tula Oblast region.
It’s believed one of the prison’s convicts, identified as Eduard Dolgintsev, used the cat as a mule for drugs and so prosecutors decided to use the animal as evidence in court.
To ensure they wouldn’t lose the stray before the court date, prosecutors caught it and put it a ‘special cage’ – aka kitty prison – last year.
The prosecutors then left the animal to be cared for while they waited for the trial to roll around, so it wasn’t until lawyer Dmitriy Sotnikov recently went to visit the furry piece of evidence that they realised it was missing.
In fact, it had been missing for quite some time.
The cat had somehow escaped its little cell last winter, though the people looking after it obviously didn’t deem it necessary to inform those relying on its appearance in court.
I have a feeling the prosecutors might have underestimated this cat’s criminal side. Not only did it manage to escape its prison, but it got away with it. I bet it pulled out the Puss In Boots, sad-kitty look and the people caring for it couldn’t help but quietly set it free.
After learning their evidence had done a runner, the prosecutors were left with a dilemma about what to present in court.
Obviously, the more moral route would have been to admit they’d lost the cat. However, it seems they wanted to save face so they went with a different plan, in the form of a feline impostor.
They presented the new cat at the trial, presumably hoping no one would remember what the original suspect looked like, but unfortunately the defence lawyer was quick to catch on.
In court, he pointed out the cat being presented was a different colour to the one which had been accused of smuggling, saying:
The original cat had all white paws. We see here a cat that has its front left paw striped. The nose is also different – the original cat had a white nose, this one has a striped nose as well as the paws.
I mean, it’s just sloppy work from the prosecutors, if you ask me. I’m not condoning the fabrication of evidence, but if they were going to try and swindle an entire courtroom with a cat they should have at least tried to find one that looked the same as the suspect.
As a result of the cat-swap, the trial had to be suspended – presumably so the prosecutors could come up with some other evidence.
Local media report the hearing was rescheduled for yesterday, November 14, but it’s unclear if it went ahead.
As for the drug-smuggling kitty – they’re still on the run.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.