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Sentencing of former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu: A timeline of the case

Published on Feb 14, 2014 6:04 PM
 
Romanian embassy official Dr Silviu Ionescu (second from right in the background) and his driver Marius Trusca (centre in the foreground) watching as police inspect the black Audi saloon, in this photo taken on Dec 15, 2009. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SHIN MIN

The accident: Man killed, Ionescu leaves S'pore

Dec 15, 2009

Three people are injured in a hit-and-run at 3am on Bukit Panjang Road. Witnesses say the car was a black Audi A6, belonging to the Romanian embassy.

Dec 16, 2009

Silviu Ionescu, charge d'affaires at the Romanian Embassy, tells local media that he last saw the car at 1.30am on the night of the accident. He says he has reported the theft of the car to the police.

Dec 18, 2009

Ionescu leaves Singapore for Romania, citing a check-up for his diabetes condition.

Dec 25, 2009

One of the victims, Mr Tong Kok Wai (above), 30, is taken off life support and dies.

The other two, Mr Bong Hwee Haw, 24, and 18-year-old Muhamad Haris Abu Talib (above), are in stable condition.

The breakthrough: eye witnesses come forward

Dec 31, 2009

A taxi driver comes forward with evidence that he picked up Ionescu near the scene of the accident that night at 3.30am. While in the taxi, Ionescu calls the police to report his missing car, the cabby says.

Jan 3, 2010

Ionescu tells a Romanian tabloid that he plans to return to Singapore soon. He speculates that thieves had forced down the window of the Audi to get to the spare key inside the car. It is understood that the car bore no signs of a break-in.

Jan 6, 2010

The Romanian Foreign Ministry recalls Ionescu to face an inquiry and says that he is not exempt from the jurisdiction of his home state.

Jan 7, 2010

Ionescu tells Romanian media that he will not return to Singapore but will assist with investigations in Romania.

Jan 27, 2010

The Singapore Police say that they have evidence that Ionescu was the hit-and-run driver.

Cabby Neo Hock Beng holding up the receipt for Dr Silviu Ionescu’s trip to the Sungei Kadut area.

Ms Jeong Ae Ree, a 40-year-old opera singer and voice teacher, testifying on the first day of the coroner's inquiry into the death of Mr Tong Kok Wai, 30, who was knocked down by the Romanian embassy car on the morning of Dec 15, 2009, and died days later in hospital.

The court case: Charges filed, Ionescu wanted by Interpol

Feb 3, 2010

Romanian prosecutors bring charges of manslaughter, making a false report and fleeing the scene of an accident against Ionescu. He could face two to seven years in jail.

Feb 6, 2010

Ionescu tells Romanian media that he is being framed by the Singapore Government for his "reporting" on political activities. The Singapore Government says the allegations are baseless, a gross insult to the victims of the accident and a serious attack on its integrity. It summons Ionescu back to Singapore to take part in the inquiry into the accident.

Feb 12, 2010

Romania waives diplomatic immunity for embassy driver Marius Trusca (above) so that he can be a witness at the inquiry. The Romanian Foreign Ministry also calls Ionescu's allegations of a set-up "lurid" and undeserving of comment "because they are devoid of any relevance". But it cannot compel Ionescu to return to Singapore for the inquiry because he has been suspended from the diplomatic service, it says.

March 3, 2010

Singapore's inquiry into the accident begins, with 50 witnesses taking the stand. Ionescu says that he will not attend because illness prevents him from flying back to Singapore.

March 31, 2010

State Coroner Victor Yeo concludes that Ionescu was behind the wheel and calls his actions "cowardly and irresponsible". Reached by telephone in Romania, Ionescu calls this "bulls***".

April 15, 2010

Romania says that Ionescu has no diplomatic immunity to prevent him from facing charges in Singapore as he has been recalled from his post. But, a lack of an extradition treaty between Singapore and Romania is a barrier to his return. An international arrest warrant for him is issued by Interpol.

The arrest: Ionescu detained, victim awarded damages

May 7, 2010

Romanian prosecutors question Ionescu for six hours and a Bucharest court places him under preventive detention.

May 30, 2010

Romanian prosecutors fly to Singapore to gather evidence for their case against Ionescu.

July 1, 2010

Romanian prosecutors indict Ionescu for homicide, causing physical injuries and false statements. Meanwhile, one of the victims, Mr Bong Hwee Haw, 24, files a civil suit against Ionescu for over $630,000.

July 27, 2010

Ionescu's trial in Romania begins.

May 15, 2011

Mr Bong (centre in picture) is awarded $360,000 in damages by the Singapore High Court.

The final sentence: Jail term doubled to six years

March 27, 2013

Ionescu is found guilty of manslaughter by a Bucharest court and sentenced to three years in jail, less than half the maximum penalty.

Feb 13, 2014

A Bucharest appeals court doubles the sentence to six years, agreeing with prosecutors that the original sentence is too lenient.

PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS, ST FILE PHOTOS