Romanian hit and run diplomat, sentenced to six years in jail

Romanian hit and run diplomat, sentenced to six years in jail


By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest

A former charge d’affaires at the Romanian Embassy in Singapore who killed a person in a car accident four years ago has been today sentenced to six years in prison in a final verdict passed by Bucharest Court of Appeals.

Silviu Ionescu was charged with manslaughter and fleeing scene of accident which resulted in the death of a person. His trial started in July 2010 and the accusation list also included false statements and battery. In passing the final verdict, the judge admitted the prosecutor’s legal contest in which he asked for three more years of prison after a three years sentence was passed in March last year.

On 15 December 2009, early in the morning, Silviu Ionescu was driving a car registered at the Romanian Embassy in Singapore and ignored the red lights, running over two pedestrians that were crossing the streets.

Ionescu fled the scene and drove on to the next crossroads where he hit another pedestrian who was crossing the street on the green lights. One of the three victims later died from the severe wounds. The diplomat later called the police in Singapore alleging the car he was driving had been stolen from a parking lot in front of the Romanian Embassy. He maintained the same in a written statement given to the local police. His lawyer called his client be acquitted arguing there is not solid proof that shows Ionescu was behind the wheel.

One of the two wounded victims received 360,000 Singapore dollars damages after a verdict of Singapore’s High Court. Ionescu also has to pay about 13,400 SGD to cover repair costs for the limousine he was driving in the night of the accident.

The case sparked a vivid debate and outrage in Singapore especially since there is no extradition treaty between the two countries. The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has distanced itself from Ionescu since he was excused from his diplomatic position, saying his statements carry the weight of any common citizen.

The Romanian government has taken action against Ionescu. He was recalled from his post in Singapore with effect from 5 January 2010 and the case had been referred to the Romanian Prosecutor’s Office to conduct an investigation. The Romanian Foreign Ministry also suspended Ionescu from his duties after the Romanian Prosecutor’s Office began a criminal investigation against him.