Police investigations reveal Dr Ionescu was driver of car that hit 3 people last month
SINGAPORE: Police investigations have revealed that Romanian diplomat, Dr Silviu Ionescu was the driver of the car involved in a hit-and-run accident on December 15 last year.
The accident resulted in the death of 30-year-old Singapore permanent resident, Tong Kok Wai, and injured two others.
The coroner's inquiry will begin on March 3 and at least 35 witnesses will be called.
The car from the Romanian Embassy allegedly hit Tong Kok Wai and another pedestrian, 24-year old Bong Hwee Haw as they were crossing the road at the junction of Bukit Panjang and Bangkit Roads.
The court heard that instead of stopping, the car sped off.
It then hit 18-year-old Muhammad Haris Abu Talib at the next controlled junction.
Deputy Principal Senior State Counsel Prosecutor Lau Wing Yum told the Coroner's Court that in both instances, the traffic lights were in favour of the pedestrians.
Mr Lau said Dr Silviu Ionescu made a 999 call about 30 minutes after the accidents to report that the car, a black Audi had been stolen.
However, Police investigations showed the car wasn't stolen.
It was recovered at around 11am that day, locked and abandoned at 21 Sungei Kadut Avenue.
Mr Lau said the right side of the car's front windscreen was smashed. The front bonnet and the driver's door were dented.
The man allegedly behind the wheel, Dr Ionescu, left Singapore for his country on December 18.
He had said then that he was seeking treatment for health problems.
Responding to MediaCorp's queries, a Romanian embassy spokesperson, Economic Counselor Alexander Nicolae Coseru, said it's not aware of the investigation results.
He said the embassy will follow Singapore's procedures and participate in the coroner's inquiry.
It's not known if Mr Ionescu will return for the court proceedings.
Said Mr Coseru: "We have to wait and see what happens. We will follow the Singapore authorities' procedure. We will participate in the coroner's court inquiry and we will see the final results of the Singapore procedures."
The Romanian Foreign Ministry has since recalled Dr Ionescu, from his post.
All three pedestrians who were involved in the accidents were sent to the National University Hospital.
However, Mr Tong who suffered fractures to his right leg and skull, succumbed to his injuries and died on Christmas Day, 10 days after the accident.
Coroner's inquiry aside, there's another case looming now. MediaCorp understands that one of the surviving victims, Bong Hwee Haw wants to be compensated for his injuries.
His lawyer said Mr Bong had incurred hospital bills amounting to nearly S$50,000. The pre-inquiry conference for that case will be held next month.
Mr Bong has engaged a team led by N Srinivasan from Hoh Law Corporation.
Mr Srinivasan told reporters that his client has already returned to Sarawak.
The pre-inquiry conference for this case will be held on February 24.
Both Romania and Singapore are parties of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.
The Convention states that "a diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State...the immunity of a diplomatic agent from the jurisdiction of the receiving State does not exempt him from the jurisdiction of the sending State".
This means the penal investigation in a case in which a diplomat is involved in the receiving state takes place in the state whose citizen he is. - CNA/vm
While this man who killed one person and lied about his driving licence was jailed for 51 months and banned from driving for 10 years...
Jail, ban for hit-and-run man
A MAN who was involved in a hit-and-run fatal accident last June was jailed for 51 months and banned from driving for 10 years on Monday.
Chen Dewen, 24, a chef, had earlier admitted to causing the death of Mr Asotharman Kunopuram Velayuthan Bhanu, 56, by doing a rash act along Upper Serangoon Road on June 20 last year.
He also admitted to seven other charges including driving without a valid licence and insurance coverage; failing to stop after an accident and render assistance; and removing his car without police authority.
He lied to the police in May that he had lost his driving licence, and cheated a car rental company by issuing a dud cheque to pay for the rental in June.
On June 19, he went pubbing with friends and was taking them home in the early hours when he crashed into the victim while overtaking a slow-moving lorry.
He could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for the most serious offence of cheating.
Let's wait and see what will be Dr Silviu Ionescu's punishment on March 3. If any.