Ionescu convicted for 'manslaughter, inflicting injuries, fleeing from crash site'

BUCHAREST (AFP) - A Bucharest court sentenced a former Romanian diplomat to three years in prison on Wednesday for a 2009 deadly hit-and-run accident in Singapore.

Silviu Ionescu, who was Romania's charge d'affaires in Singapore, was found guilty of hitting three pedestrians in December 2009 while driving a car belonging to the Romanian mission.

One of the pedestrians, a 30-year-old Malaysian, died.

"The court condemns Ionescu Silviu for manslaughter... inflicting injuries and fleeing from the location where the crash took place," the judgement said. His lawyer told AFP that Ionescu - who was not present in court for the sentencing - will appeal.

In Romania, a convict does not go to jail until the sentence has been upheld on appeal.

The former diplomat's defence team argued during the trial that he should be acquitted on the grounds that there was no direct evidence linking him to the crime.

Ionescu, who fled Singapore shortly after the accident, has always claimed the Romanian mission's car was stolen. He has been on trial since October 2010.