All you need is luck--and a psych evaluation--to avoid jail time.
A schizophrenic man who allegedly tried to sell boxes of stolen tapes of rare Beatles recordings is free as a bird Friday after a British judge decided not to order him locked up on account of his mental illness.
According to the BBC, Judge Jeremy McMullen of London's Southwark Crown Court ruled that 55-year-old Nigel Oliver will not have to serve what would have likely been a four-year prison term, citing a jury's finding at an earlier hearing that the defendant was mentally unfit to be held responsible for his actions. Instead, the judge sentenced Oliver to two years of mental health supervision.
"It is necessary for the protection of the public that you take advantage of medication and treatment and counseling that you are getting," McMullen was quoted as telling Oliver.
In January 2003, Oliver was nabbed in a sting in Amsterdam after he allegedly tried to sell some hundreds of pilfered tapes along with other band memorabilia to undercover police officers for $460,000.
Among the Fab Four swag in his possession were 504 recordings the Beatles made during their historic "Get Back" sessions that was meant to accompany film footage that eventually became the 1970 movie Let It Be, more than 80 hours of sound footage of the legendary band, as well as George Harison's 1960 passport.
Neil Aspinall, the Beatles' original road manager who became managing director of the group's Apple Corps, says the tapes had gone missing sometime between 1969 and 1973 and featured over 200 one-off performances by the Beatles, including covers of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" and Rod Stewart's "Maggie May."
"There's lots of very unknown stuff and music on there that they wouldn't have recorded in a normal session," Aspinall told the court during the trial.
No one has been charged in the theft and it's unclear how Oliver came to acquire the stash. When police searched his apartment, there were written directions on how he should sell the merchandise.
Apple hasn't said whether it intends to release the rediscovered tracks anytime soon, though the company did announce plans to digitally remaster the group's entire catalog and, for the first time, make it available for download via online stores, but no timetable has been set.
Those fans dying to get back sooner might try flying to Las Vegas and take in Love, the new Cirque du Soleil extravaganza set to Beatles music handpicked by their main producer, George Martin, which premiered two weeks ago at the Mirage Hotel.
Surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and Harrison's wife, Olivia, gave their stamp of approval to the production and were all on hand for opening night.