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Court to teen: Give up your Xbox

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Judges don't play games

An Irish teen has learned the hard way that breaking the law can be a losing game. Literally.

A judge in Belfast ordered a boy accused of a series of robberies -- including a shopping center and high school -- to surrender his Xbox 360 as part of the conditions for him to receive bail late last month.

The 13-year old (whose name is being withheld due to his age) really only has himself to blame. When asked by the judge to describe something he owned that meant a lot to him, the boy blurted out that he loved his game system. Seeing an opportunity, the judge ordered him to hand it over as a lesson in what it was like to have something he valued taken away.

The console will be returned once the charges have been settled.

Of course, there was more to the bail agreement than simply not being able to play Halo: Reach. The accused is further barred from spending time with an associate also charged in the case, and has to wear an electronic tagging device as he wanders around not playing video games.

Think taking away a game console is odd punishment? The judge in this case wasn't from the U.S., but maybe he was simply following the lead of some of the more peculirar sentences that have popped here in the last year or so. For example:

- In May, a couple in Ohio were sentenced to wade in a kiddie pool for two hours, then spend the next four hours handing out flyers identifying themselves as liars. The punishment came after the duo was convicted of misconduct during an emergency.

- Last October, a Texas judge ordered a couple convicted of stealing from a local crime victims fund to stand in the road with a sign detailing their actions. Every weekend for the next six years, the duo has to spend five hours holding a sign reading "I am a thief. I stole $250,000 from the Harris County crime victim's fund." The signs include their names.

- A Charleston, WV district attorney okayed a plea agreement in a burglary case that let the alleged victim slap the accused in the face in return for dropping the charges. Not surprisingly, that attorney is the one who got slapped - with a suspension.

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