Ex-Ambassador Gets a Year in Prison
Nataša Vodušek, Slovenia's former ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina, was sentenced to one year in prison on for causing a car accident by negligence in Sarajevo in October 2008.
The Local Court in Ljubljana endorsed the view of the prosecution that Vodusek was driving under the influence as she ran a red light and crashed her car into that of a Bosnian man, badly injuring him.
Vodusek also received a six-month driving ban and was ordered to pay the costs of trial. Prosecutor Karmen Erculj had demanded a prison sentence of one year and a half.
Reading the verdict, judge Metka Popivoda highlighted the serious injuries sustained by the 48-year-old Bosnian, who was unable to work for a while and will also suffer because of the injuries in the future.
She also stressed that the high level of intoxication - Vodusek was allegedly driving with 1.75 grams of alcohol per kilogram of blood - makes a prison sentence the only appropriate verdict. According to expert opinion, even 1.3g/kg is enough to make a person completely unfit for driving.
What is more, Vodusek was a diplomatic representatives in Bosnia and should have been even stricter on herself when it comes to following rules.
Vodusek's lawyer Janez Koscak had proposed his client be acquitted. Vodusek repeated today her claim that she had not run a red light and that a blood test for alcohol was not performed.
Vodusek, who was dismissed as ambassador in December 2008, argued that she was on trial because of the media pressure: "the journalists pass guilty rulings, rule people's lives and virtually run Slovenia".
The judge rejected the arguments of the defence, saying there had been no pressure from the media or the public and dismissing claims that the blood sample had been replaced.
Vodusek announced an appeal, insisting that the accusations had not been proven, that she was not driving under the influence and did not cause the accident.
Koscak, claiming it had never been clearly established who in fact ran a red light, moreover expressed surprise that "all the arguments of the defence were entirely ignored". He also argued that a prison sentence in such cases was not usual.
Nijaz Zorlak, the Bosnian citizen who Vodusek hit with the car, dismissed her narrative of media pressure. "Nobody lied, nobody improvised, nobody was against her," he told the Kanal A TV station.
Vodusek has refused to apologise to the victim, who sustained serious injuries to the head, ribcage and internal organs, which Zorlak said was "very nasty".
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