Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A German banker who hit and killed a cyclist while driving was slapped with the maximum fine yesterday. He had been trying to beat a red light when the accident happened.

Walter Alfred Heinz Fuchs, 43, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of causing the man's death through a negligent act. He was given a $10,000 fine and banned from driving for six years.

He was originally charged with causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a jail term of up to five years.

The head of Hypo Vereinsbank's treasury in Singapore admitted that he had failed to keep a proper lookout when he hit Mr Chan Ah Soo, 75, on July 17 last year.

In court yesterday, Fuchs, who was dressed in a suit, folded his arms just before being sentenced.

Before District Judge Adrian Soon handed down the sentence, he asked the banker to put down his hands.

The court heard that Fuchs was driving a rented Rover along Upper Cross Street at 10.15 pm that night.

He beat the red lights and hit Mr Chan, who was riding his bicycle at the pedestrian crossing.

The crossing lights were in the cyclist's favour and he was believed to be on his way to his home in York Hill, off Chin Swee Road. He was thrown off his bicycle on impact and died on the spot.

Fuchs' lawyer, Senior Counsel R. Palakrishnan, said in mitigation that his client, who is married with two children, had an unblemished driving record.

His client, he said, came to Singapore in September 2000 to be executive director of the German bank.

In February last year, he became the top man in charge of the bank's treasury as well as market and liquidity risks in Asia.

Mr Palakrishnan said that Fuchs, who has been driving for 20 years, suffered trauma after the accident and was still undergoing counselling.

He added that the cyclist should not have used the pedestrian crossing to ride across the five-lane road, and so was wrong to an extent.

Urging the court to impose a 'minimal fine', he said this was a case of 'momentary inattention or misjudgment'.

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