Page last updated at 22:45 GMT, Friday, 30 December 2005

US mayor to overturn snowball ban

A boy throws a snowball in the US
Lobbing one of these could see you locked up for 179 days in Topeka

A Kansas mayor has said he will repeal a "dumb" city regulation banning the throwing of snowballs - shortly after inadvertently breaking it himself.

Bill Bunten, mayor of Kansas' capital, Topeka, found out about the rule after a high school student wrote to him.

He replied confessing he had recently hurled a snowball himself, and said he would ask for the law to be revised.

Under the code, anyone caught throwing a snowball in public can be fined up to $499 (290) and jailed for 179 days.

The high school student, from Illinois, pointed out to Mr Bunten that the law had been ridiculed in her government class as an example of "dumb law".

'Delete that bit'

In his reply, the mayor said he had missed the tree he aimed at with his own snowball earlier this month.

He added that he had had no idea he was violating the law in the process.

"After I write to you, I am going to the police station to report myself and throw myself on the mercy of the court," he continued.

"After that I'm going to have an ordinance drawn up to repeal this Dumb Law lest our already over-crowded prisons are filled up with children who, while making a snowman, got carried away and had a snowball fight."

The city's lawyers argue the law, which also bans the throwing of stones and other projectiles at public or private property, or people, is part of its legislation against assault and battery.

But Mr Bunten said he had asked the city attorney to "delete that part of it about snowballs", the Kansas City newspaper reports.

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