Ex-Romanian diplomat’s sentence doubled by court

Former Romanian diplomat, Silviu Ionescu, has had his sentence for a hit-and-run incident in Singapore in 2009 doubled from 3 years to 6 by the appeals court in Romania.

The ex-charge d’affaires to Singapore was charged with manslaughter and leaving the site of the car crash which hit 3 pedestrians and killed one of them, a Malaysian.According to news reports, the accidents took place in the early hours of 15 December, 2009. Ionescu was driving an Audi A6 belonging to the Romanian Embassy to Singapore when he hit two people who were crossing the street at that time.

Ionescu did not stop and kept on driving and hit another person, aged 18. He didn’t stop this time either, fleeing the scene of the accidents and abandoning the car in an industrial area of Singapore.

One of the injured persons died because of the serious injuries suffered in the accident.

Ionescu fled Singapore soon after.

At his trial, the prosecutor asked the court to impose a heavier sentence, arguing that the act of the accused was a serious crime. He also pointed out that Romania’s international image has been damaged from this incident.

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Ionescu, in his defence, said that he was not behind the wheel of the car.

However, eye witnesses accounts put him at the scene of the crime and indeed as the driver of the car.

The Singapore High Court had awarded damages of S$360,000 to Bong Hwee Haw – one of the three victims. Bong, who was 24-years old at the time of the accident, was the first victim to be awarded compensation for the injuries suffered.

His friend, Tong Kok Wai, aged 30, died ten days after the accident, while the third victim, Muhammad Haris Abu Talib, who was 18, suffered minor injuries.

Ionescu’s diplomatic immunity and the lack of an extradition treaty between the two countries meant he could not be brought back to Singapore to stand trial.

However, the Romanian authorities arrested him and charged him for the crime. During his trial, which started in 2010, Ionescu repeatedly claimed that he was framed by the Singapore authorities because he had sent “critical reports” of Singapore to the Romanian foreign ministry.

He also claimed that the charges against him should be dismissed as there were no evidence to tie him directly to the crime.

However, the court disagreed and sentenced him to 3 years in prison in 2013.

The appeals court has now doubled this sentence and has also found him guilty of inflicting injuries and fleeing from the scene, according to the court ruling.

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