Adrian Sutil

31 Jan

After months of build-up and speculation, followed by two brief days in a German court, Adrian Sutil has been found guilty of causing Greivous Bodily Harm (GBH) to Eric Lux. Sutil has been handed an 18 month suspended jail sentence and a €200,000 fine.

Having followed the developing story case quite closely it was almost inevitable that this would be the verdict. Despite repeated attempts by Sutil to apologise and settle the case, Lux seemed intent on revenge and wanted his day(s) in court (the prosecution were pushing for a 21 month sentence and a multiple race ban).

Adam Cooper, reporter for the SPEED channel, saw the CCTV footage from the nightclub in Shanghai where the incident occurred. In his report today where he expressed disbelief at the outcome and sympathy for Sutil, Cooper has described what he saw in the footage:

“CCTV footage viewed by SPEED.com last year showed Sutil sitting next to Hamilton, with Lux standing over them, and a discussion apparently taking place. Lux then suddenly grabbed Sutil’s left arm and tried to pull him out of the chair, and it was while Sutil tried to defend himself and push Lux away with his free right hand – in which he was still holding a glass – that the injury occurred.”

GBH is an incredibly serious charge. A neck wound caused by glass is undoubtedly also serious, and would have been traumatising – it may well be that Lux feared the wound was worse than it was.

The German court handling the case was a single judge who was intent on “making an example” of Sutil. Had the trial occurred by jury the outcome could well have been different; 12 perspectives and an element of reasonable doubt are likely to result in a different outcome.

Having not seen the footage myself, nor knowing the two parties involved, it is not right for me to say whether I think the outcome is the right one. What I can say though, is that Sutil was lucky to have avoided a jail term, but that whether guilty or not guilty he is definitely the loser in this whole ugly incident.

Sutil’s racing career may be seriously damaged by having a criminal record. As well as casting a shadow over his name, it may also affect his ability to travel to countries hosting races (the USA, China and the UAE, amongst others).

I sincerely hope that he is able to continue to race somewhere after he has taken some time to deal with this protracted affair.

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