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Sutil convicted, gets 18-month suspended sentence

Reuters
Jan 31, 2012 at 06:45pm IST

Munich: Former Force India driver Adrian Sutil was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm to a Formula One team owner in a night club confrontation in China and given an 18-month suspended sentence on Tuesday.

The Munich district court passed the verdict and the sentence after a two-day trial. The prosecutors had asked for a 21-month suspended sentence. Sutil was also fined $262,200, to be paid to charities.

"The defendant knew that he had this glass in his hand. The glass was moving in an intended direction," judge Christiane Thiemann said in her ruling.

Sutil convicted, gets suspended sentence

Sutil was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm to Renault team executive Eric Lux at a party last year.

Sutil was charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Renault team executive Eric Lux at a party following Lewis Hamilton's victory at the China Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 17. Lux needed two dozen stitches after being cut in the neck by a broken glass.

The court had also wanted to hear from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who won the race in China and was in the night club at the time, but the 2008 world champion was excused due to team commitments.

Sutil, in his final statement before the verdict, apologized once again to Lux and said he had not realized he was still holding the glass in his hand at the time of the incident.

"I regret the incident very much. It's a lesson for me," Sutil said.

Sutil's lawyer, Juergen Wessing, argued that Sutil's action was unintentional and a reflex, but prosecutor Nicole Selzam rejected that, saying it was "ridiculous."

"Pushing someone away with a glass is adventurous and not in line with our experience of life ," prosecutor Nicole Selzam told the court. "Professional athletes play a role model function in public life and such incidents should not occur."

After the verdict, Sutil said he was relieved that the case was over "and that I am in the clear with Eric Lux."

Sutil talked with Lux on Monday on the telephone and another attempt to settle the case fell through on Tuesday before the verdict, according to the dapd news agency.

The German driver told the court on Monday that he had "tried everything" to settle the case out of court, offering "tens of millions" and a charitable donation but was turned down by Lux.

"I'm terribly sorry. I never wanted what happened there to happen," Sutil said on the first day of the trial.

Sutil said last year he wanted only to spill his drink on Lux, who was part owner of the team now renamed Lotus, and that causing the injury was completely "unintentional and accidental."

The 29-year-old Sutil lost his seat at Force India after five seasons to compatriot Nico Hulkenberg in December. Sutil was without a team for this year.

Sutil's agent, Manfred Zimmermann, said he was hoping his client could land a deal next week to become a test driver for one of the Formula One teams.

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