The trial for the death of a suspected drug dealer has been discontinued on payment of a fine. A former police doctor is to pay 20,000 euros to the victim’s mother, the regional court announced on friday. The public prosecutor, the defendant and the plaintiff agreed.
At the end of 2004, the doctor had administered syrup by nasal tube to a man from sierra leone in order to secure swallowed evidence. The 35-year-old died a short time later from the consequences of the procedure. The defendant, now 49 years old, was acquitted in two trials, but the federal supreme court subsequently overturned the verdicts as erroneous. Since april, the case has been heard again in bremen. Emetic is now no longer used in similar suspicious cases. In 2006, the european court of human rights in strabburg had condemned germany for this practice.
The bremen chamber emphasized that, on the basis of the evidence gathered so far, it was unlikely that the doctor would be convicted of causing bodily harm resulting in death. The judges referred to the testimony of the defendant, who had now spoken on the matter for the first time, and to new information provided by an emergency doctor who had been called in to help.
The court had weighed the degree of guilt, the consequences of the crime and the impact of the trial on the accused. "On the one hand, the death of the victim was the worst consequence of a forced state withdrawal," the court’s statement read. However, it also had to be taken into account that the defendant had suffered severely from the proceedings, which had lasted for almost nine years. Since october 2013 he had been in inpatient psychiatric treatment. In the opinion of the chamber, it is to be expected that the former police doctor will no longer be able to cope with the burden of a main hearing.
The seriousness of his guilt does not prevent the proceedings from being discontinued. In the opinion of the court, there is no justification for the death of the victim as a result of compulsory state seizure. It must be taken into account, however, that the crime was an accident for the previously unpunished defendant as a result of a pressure and exceptional situation. The chamber is convinced that the defendant did not behave recklessly and selfishly.