Start of the trial in Berlin: Defendant regrets “immeasurable suffering” after an SUV accident with four dead

Process start in Berlin

Defendant regrets “immeasurable suffering” after SUV accident with four dead

rbb / Ulf Morling

Audio: Inforadio | 27.10.2021 | Ulf Morling | Image: rbb / Ulf Morling

10/27/21 | 4:00 p.m.

The trial against a motorist for fourfold negligent homicide has begun at the Berlin Regional Court. In September 2019, he killed four pedestrians in Berlin during an epileptic seizure at over 100 km / h. From Ulf Morling

Four pedestrians between the ages of three and 64 were killed in the tragic accident. According to the indictment, the accused 44-year-old motorist is responsible for this. In the indictment read out on Wednesday, the public prosecutor accuses him of having acted “objectively and subjectively in a negligent manner”.

With his medical history, an epileptic seizure four months before the tragic accident and a brain operation a few weeks before the event, the accused entrepreneur should never have sat behind the wheel on the day of the incident. In any case, it is said that a “level-headed person” would not have done it.

At the start of the trial, all seats in jury court room 500 were occupied. Nine family members of the four pedestrians killed appear as joint plaintiffs. Only one of them found the strength to appear and sit across from the accused.

Admission of the accused

Sitting between his two defense lawyers, the accused of negligent homicide and endangering traffic had read out his six-page admission in a halting voice, interrupted again and again by pauses in which the accused suppressed tears and swallowed.

Again and again he looked at the only co-plaintiff who had appeared at the start of the trial: It is the husband of the killed Birgit R. (64) who was hit and killed by the defendant’s car on the footpath in Invalidenstrasse, as was the three-year-old grandchild.

“I am deeply desperate about the immeasurable suffering my accident has caused,” says the defendant in his admission. On the day of the accident, however, he was “completely sure” that he would not suffer any more epileptic seizures. With his brain surgery over four weeks ago, “the cause of the only attack was completely eliminated”.

The 44-year-old had a benign tumor removed a good four weeks before the accused in Switzerland. “Nowhere is it stated that I am not allowed to drive a car for a certain period after the operation,” says the defendant. His attending doctor merely advised him verbally not to sit behind the wheel for four weeks. He stuck to that.

Michael M. emphasized in his admission that he has been driving accident-free car for twenty years and that he is “a calm and level-headed driver” who only attracted attention once because of a speeding violation and therefore has a point in Flensburg.

Immediately after the crime, the defendant released his doctors from their obligation to maintain confidentiality and released all medical files for the prosecution to investigate against him. Although the Tiergarten District Court did not withdraw his driver’s license, Michael M. has not driven a car since the accident, although there are no medical concerns.

Allegations of relatives and victim representatives

After reading out the defendant’s statement, the only relatives of the victims present were indignant: The admission would not help the victims, on the contrary! Michael M. had never asked for forgiveness in the past two years for the tragic accident that had caused.

When asked about this, Robert Unger, the defendant’s attorney, explains that a few days after the accident a letter was received from a family member of a death victim, in which it was requested that his client “should not contact us under any circumstances”. They kept to that.

Co-plaintiff Christina Clemm criticizes, among other things, the way the legislature deals with motorists: In Germany there is no notification to the driving license authority if a doctor temporarily or permanently determines that a driver is unfit to drive. There is only a doctor’s request not to drive. That could not be enough, the driver’s license office would have to withdraw the driver’s license in such a case. “But that’s not our law.”

Verdict in February?

The indictment against Michael M. lists 72 witnesses and 10 experts. His wife is also supposed to testify whether she called the treating neurologist at the Charité immediately before the accident drive because she feared another epileptic seizure in her husband.

Basically the question should be clarified in the process whether or how much criminal responsibility M. bears for the accident caused by him: Did he have to expect to suffer another epileptic seizure while driving the car on the day of the accident? Is M. culpable?

If the driver is convicted, the maximum sentence is five years. A suspended sentence is also possible. 20 process days are planned until February 9, 2022.

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Broadcast: evening show, October 27th, 2021, 7:30 p.m.

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