Defendant presents Playmobil rendering of court in court
A Maltese woman accused of fraud and breach of copyright for flogging Playmobil dioramas on eBay earned herself a few pints on the El Reg Bootnotes department yesterday by turning up in court with a miniature rendering of her own trial.
Vicky Vassallo was dragged before the beak for selling “sets of Playmobil figures built into her own scenes”. Giving evidence, she admitted a 30-year obsession with the figurines, during which she travelled Europe to Playmobil fairs and battled with fellow Playmonutters to create the best diorama.
Vassallo claimed Playmobil promoted these competitions and awarded prizes for the best efforts. To demonstrate just what marvels can be conjured from the company’s wares, she then whipped out a Playmobil representation of her own trial, complete with “magistrate, the blonde deputy registrar, defence and prosecution”.
For the benefit of the chuckling court, and indeed those of us who have an interest in such things, Vassallo explained “how she assembled the model using different parts from various sets”.
She further indicated that Playmobil has no problem with this “customisation” process as long as people avoided unwholesome scenes of violence and the like.
Responding to questioning by Superintendent Carmel Magri as to the legality of her eBay operation, Vassallo said she didn’t need the nod from Playmobil to create and sell her sets, which were offered as second-hand goods.
Joe Giglio, defending, then got into the spirit of the occasion by asking Superintendent Magri what car he owned. The copper admitted to a nine-year-old Peugeot, which replaced a Skoda.
Giglio pressed the superintendent as to whether Skoda had authorised him to sell his previous motor, or indeed change its tyres. The truncheon fondler said no, but noted that “no official complaint was filed against him”.
The Vassallo trial comes a couple of years after two Maltesers were accused of selling stolen Playmobil figures, some of them modified to show “knights holding decapitated bleeding heads and arrows lodged in the heads”.
The figures in question allegedly came from Playmobil’s Malta plant. The British press was recently treated to a grand tour of the factory, but El Reg wasn’t invited – despite elevating our favourite figurines to hitherto unimagined heights.
Yeah, we know: Playmobil, or it didn’t happen. A Playmobil representation of a woman in court presenting a Playmobil representation of the same scene? Hmmm…