Ex-Russian diplomat charged in Ottawa crash
Last Updated: Sat Nov 10 18:32:54 2001
OTTAWA - A former Russian diplomat accused of being drunk when he mowed down two pedestrians in Canada last winter will be prosecuted in his home country, police confirmed Saturday.
Andrei Knyazev, 46, lost control of his car on Jan. 27, according to investigators, and struck two women on a sidewalk in Ottawa. One victim was killed, and the other was left seriously injured.
Knyazev refused to provide a sample of his breath, and Canada was unable to persuade Moscow to waive diplomatic immunity in the case. He returned to Russia within days, and was then fired from the foreign service.
Russian detectives spent 10 months investigating the crash, flying to Ottawa twice at Canadian taxpayers' expense. They interviewed witnesses, family members, and examined the crime scene and car.
Knyazev, once Russia's third-ranking diplomat in Canada, has been charged with negligence and causing death. No trial date has been set.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison as well as suspended driving privileges for three years. In Canada, impaired driving causing death carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
Knyazev had been accused of impaired driving in Canada before the fatal accident, but was never charged because he exercised diplomatic immunity. The federal government later admitted that was a mistake.
In March, Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley announced tougher rules governing diplomats. From now on, he said, driving privileges will be revoked if Canadian police accuse embassy staff of drunk driving, even if formal charges have not been laid.
Well I really hope that this moron get convicted, and I really wish that his diplomatic immunity could have been waived the day that this accident happened. Actually, I don't beleive in diplomatic immunity at all.