Film actors, director fined for handing out fake roll-ups and disturbing church service in Lithuania

Three actors and a director have been fined in Lithuania for disturbing a religious service at a church in the southeastern district of Šalčininkai last year to promote their show.

The court, however, absolved them from criminal liability.

The criminal investigation was opened after three actors dressed in religious clothing – Vitalijus Cololo, Mindaugas Papinigis and Ainis Storpirštis – walked into the church in Turgeliai, a small town in the Šalčininkai district, during the Mass of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary last August to advertise their Zero Live Show.

The actors, who spoke Polish, told those gathered for the service about the upcoming show and offered them fake marijuana roll-ups.

The investigation revealed that the actors performed according to the script written by Emilis Vėlyvis, the director of the show.

The actors were issued fines of 1,000 euros each and Vėlyvis received a fine of 2,000 euros.

The court decided to absolve all four from criminal liability due to minor significance of the offence, but ordered them to pay their fines into a fund for crime victims.

Vėlyvis says he does not plan to appeal.

The indictment says that the organizers and performers of the advertising campaign deliberately tried to disturb the religious ceremony. Under the Criminal Code, disturbance of religious ceremonies or religious celebrations is punishable by community service, a fine, restriction of liberty or arrest.

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