Court napping: Judge Cecil Hicks told the Orange County Superior Court: "That has never happened to me before," as he declared a mistrial last week in a case during which he had fallen asleep. Lawyers said that they had realised the judge was asleep when he failed to rule on a defence motion.

It won't stand up in court: Whips, chains and spanking-paddles may have to be brought into a Toronto court in a case in which a Canadian dominatrix is charged with keeping a common bawdy house. The case against Terri-Jean Bedford and her House of Erotica hinges on whether her clients are supplied with sex, as the prosecution claims, or whether, as the defence maintain, it is "role play in a sexual context". Her lawyer said: "If we have to demonstrate it and get somebody all dressed up in leather and go through the motions, we will."

Rich roach: A Tucson pest-control company is offering a bounty of $50,000 for anyone who catches a specially marked cockroach that has been set loose in the town. It is one of 100 marked roaches with prices ranging from $100 upwards - dead or alive, but not too squished.