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Russian diplomat who killed Ottawa woman jailed 4 years


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Russian diplomat jailed 4 years
Former envoy found guilty in drunk-driving death of Ottawa woman


MOSCOW (CP) - The former Russian diplomat who ran over two Ottawa women last winter in a drunk driving accident was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter today.
Andrei Knyazev was sentenced to four years to be served in a penal colony - a type of low-security labour camp most commonly located in Siberia or Russia's far north.

But Knyazev's lawyer, Andrei Pavlov, said the almost-unprecedented international trial was "riddled with errors" and that he would appeal the verdict within the seven days provided by Russian law.

"This decision was not a fully correct one," Pavlov said. "He did not get a fair trial."

Knyazev, 46, showed no emotion as Judge Yelena Stashina read out the verdict summarizing the evidence against him and pronouncing the sentence, which was just one year short of the maximum five-year prison term prescribed under Russian law.


Knyazev, a career diplomat, killed Catherine MacLean, 50, and seriously injured Catherine Dore, 56, on a quiet Ottawa street on Jan. 27, 2001.

Stashina ruled Knyazev was guilty of violating about a dozen separate traffic laws when his speeding car made an improper right turn, bolted into the wrong lane, jumped up on the sidewalk and slammed MacLean and Dore.

Though the offence was committed in Canada, Knyazev was charged and tried under Part 2, Article 264 of the Russian Criminal Code, which deals with death and injury inflicted while in violation of traffic rules.

Pavlov maintained throughout the trial that "discrepancies" between the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and Russian traffic rules made it impossible to accurately judge an offence committed in one jurisdiction under the laws of the other.

Experts say this contention will probably form the basis of Knyazev's appeal.

Stashina also rejected Knyazev's testimony that he was absolutely sober on the day of the accident, saying "there is no doubt ... that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol."

A peculiarity of the Russian trial system is that a defendant is rarely penalized for perjury in self-defence, though Stashina seemed to be making a special point of refuting Knyazev's testimony in her verdict.

Stashina said she had ruled out the defendant's request for a suspended sentence, taking into account "the deadly consequences" of his crime, and the almost total "lack of mitigating circumstances" in Knyazev's case.

She said she could find only one reason for leniency, and that was "to take into account that defendant Knyazev has no previous criminal offences on his record."

Knyazev, a mid-level political officer at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa, was driving home with an embassy official after a day of ice-fishing - and drinking - when the accident happened.

Knyazev used his diplomatic immunity to refuse a police breathalyzer at the accident scene.

Knyazev is to serve four years in prison, plus three years' driving-licence suspension.

Following the verdict, Knyazev was handcuffed by two federal police officers and led from the court. He made no comment and seemed emotionally resigned to imprisonment. Knyazev will be held in Moscow's Krasnopresnenskaya detention centre pending his appeal.

A massive year-long investigation, involving unprecedented co-operation between Canadian and Russian police, made it possible to bring to the Moscow court a stream of witnesses.

Canadian ambassador Rod Irwin said the trial was made possible by Ottawa and Moscow signing a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which allows the admission of evidence and testimony from one country in the courts of the other.

"We're satisfied that we achieved our principal aim, which was to see justice done," Irwin said following the verdict. "I think it was."

Dore's husband Philippe, who made the long trek to Moscow to take part in the trial, said he accepts the verdict and has no criticisms.

"My wife and I discussed it last evening, and we do not wish Knyazev ill in any way," he said in an interview. "He will pay the price for his decision to drink and drive and we will move forward with our lives."

The Canadian government had asked Russia to waive diplomatic immunity for Knyazev so he could face trial in Canada on charges of criminal negligence causing death, impaired driving, failing to provide a breath sample and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Russia refused, promising instead to prosecute him in Moscow after he was expelled from Canada.

He was subsequently fired by the Russian Foreign Ministry and charged with involuntary manslaughter under the Russian Criminal Code.

If Knyazev stood trial in Canada and was found guilty, his sentence would have been about the same, said an Ottawa lawyer.

When you kill someone and injure another person in a drunk driving incident and you refuse to co-operate and you concoct a story during the trial, it would be treated very seriously and would ``probably receive a sentence in the same range," said criminal lawyer Matthew McGarvey.

He might have received 2-3 years in Canada, said McGarvey.

"On the other hand if he had come clean and been remorseful ... he might not have gone to jail at all."

"This is not a light sentence. Some people get suspended sentences - don't go to jail - for a manslaughter conviction," said McGarvey. "This is a harsh sentence given ... he didn't intend to kill anyone."

Dore said the verdict should be taken as a warning to drinking drivers everywhere.

"I'm sure that if Knyazev had known what was going to happen that day he would gladly have walked home - or even crawled - rather than drive," Dore said.

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two things
1) that's bullshit that diplomat only got 4 years!!!!
2) I'm working hard to become a diplomat. (not so i can people over or drink and drive)


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*meh* not enough.

drive drunk and kill somebody? you've forfeited your life. sorry, such a waste. bye-bye. bullet to the base of the skull.

to me it's worse than 1st degree murder.


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I was wondering what was happening with this..

I'm glad that beurocracy was minimal in bringing this man to justice however, I don't think one human should get any immunity over the next when it comes to commiting such a stupid preventable crime.


Originally posted by Vidman
"On the other hand if he had come clean and been remorseful ... he might not have gone to jail at all."

"This is not a light sentence. Some people get suspended sentences - don't go to jail - for a manslaughter conviction," said McGarvey. "This is a harsh sentence given ... he didn't intend to kill anyone."

What's wrong with this part of the article?
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I'm glad that some level of justice was served in this case.

Catherine MacLean was a neighbor of my parents in Ottawa, they knew her as a fellow neighborhood dog owner. Catherine Maclean and her dog were killed on a Saturday afternoon walk. Disgusting.


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by kodos
now what about otto vass?

don't be silly. KKKOPS are allowed to beat people to death in toronto. if you oppose them you are 'anti-police' and an enemy of society.

remember to salute as they drive by,
*seig heil*