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Sutil to appeal against GBH sentence
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Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Feb 2012   |  4:21 pm GMT  |  74 comments

Former Force India driver Adrian Sutil is set to appeal against his conviction for GBH handed down by courts in his native Germany last week.

At the end of a two-day trial in Munich, the 29-year-old was found guilty of assaulting the co-owner of the Lotus F1 team, Eric Lux, in a Shanghai nightclub last April following the Chinese Grand Prix and given an 18-month suspended sentence and a fine of £166,139.

But on Wednesday Sutil’s manager, Manfred Zimmermann, confirmed that his client was lodging an appeal against the decision. “We are convinced that this judgment is not appropriate,” Zimmermann was quoted as saying by the SID news agency.

“There are many things that went against us.”

The news agency reports that the public prosecutors in the case are also pushing for a harsher sentence to be handed down to Sutil, and that the appeal hearing is likely to go before a higher regional court.

An appeal hearing could see Lewis Hamilton be called to give evidence in front of the court as a witness, the McLaren driver having been with Sutil in the Shanghai nightclub when the offence occurred. He was excused from appearing at the original hearing as the dates clashed with commitments with his team.

Hamilton’s non-appearance at the hearing did not sit well with Sutil who took to the German press to describe his long-time friend as “a coward”, adding that he also didn’t receive any messages of support from the Briton prior to the case.

Having been dropped by Force India in December in favour of countryman Nico Hulkenberg for 2012 – a decision the team has since insisted had nothing to do with Sutil’s court case – Sutil’s F1 career is currently in limbo with all other seats taken on the grid and the fall-out from his case also likely to count against him.

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74 Comments
  1. Kevin Green says:

    What’s the bets Hamilton is dreading this bit, like I said in earlier posts cant help feeling Hamilton is coming out looking the worst out of all this (as I feel he should too) Bet he wishes it would just all go away! Should have distanced yourself and said it for exactly what it was at the soonest possible point tut tut tut.

    1. Mike P says:

      What is Sutil Subpoenia’s Hamilton this time so that Hamilton has no choice but to attend and provide his testimony.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Exactly very Awkward cant help wonder if its going to contradict a police statement or a version of events to a mixed pool of friends. And Sutil yet salone Hamilton would be fully aware of this one way or another! Nail biting times :/

      2. Cliff says:

        I’m intrigued how you (and Sutil) feel that Lewis Hamilton appearing in court would help. If Hamilton goes to court, he becomes the story. Sutil has never denied the incident, so he’s looking for Hamilton to put ‘cutting the neck’ of Lux into context in the hope that he will be cleared. I have never thought that there was any intent on Sutil’s part to cause serious harm, but go to your local club and have a similar incident and see what the consequences will be. Sutil would have been better advised to accept the punishment and start to rebuild his career.

      3. Kevin Green says:

        I Dont at all think it would help just find it very strange why Sutil clearly did and how long it apparently took Hamilton to distance himself from the situation. No alarm bells no??

    2. Garry Edward says:

      Fail to see why you should think Hamilton would look the worst in this, he,s just a witness, wishful thinking I expect.
      No one diputes Lux was injured by Sutil with a glass, they have CCTV footage of the incident. The fact is Sutil left the scene without helping someone he injured causing 20 odd stiches. If a friend of mine did this I doubt I would feel the need to support him either.

    3. Rodger says:

      I agree – Hamilton is now in a very difficult position, and I think whatever he does he loses.
      If he doesn’t attend the trial – he will be branded a coward.
      If he testifies that Lux provoked Sutil then he angers a man who’s company now supply half the field with engines. Would that compromise Hamilton’s driving options in future?
      Finally, if he testifies that it was all Sutil’s fault then he will (again) be branded as a coward for not making a stand on the night, distancing himself from Sutil and helping Lux, instead of what he actually did which was leave the scene with the German driver.
      As I said – he’s in a tough position, and the ramifications could be greater than we think.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Thank you Rodger Someone else who can see the situation for what it is, and how it highlights certain things about certain people whether convictable or not etc.

        Just wish some people could open there minds to things that are very serious and important issues!

        Im sure theres plenty people in F1 and with close links who have! anyway looks like the poops gooing to hit the fan after all anyway.

      2. CH1UNDA says:

        That fact that this post about Sutil’s appeal has turned into a Lewis bash-fest probably explains why Lewis would want to stay away from this case in the first place.

        However, if he has to go to court, wouldn’t it have helped if Sutil had kept his mouth shut instead of calling his friend and a potential witness names in front of the whole world? After the “Lewis is a coward” comment to the press, Hamilton owes him no loyalty.

        But knowing Lewis, he is going to find away to be nice about the whole thing – i wouldn’t be surprised if i read an apology on twitter in the course of the week.

      3. APAAPSPASPAAASA says:

        What…. Lux’s company doesn’t supply half the fields engines….

        Lux is part of Genii, the owners of the Lotus F1 Team.

        RenaultSport does the engines for the ‘half the field’ that you are talking about.

        The Lotus F1 Team hasn’t been controlled by the same people as those who make the Renault F1 Engines since 2009.

        The only thing he could do buy testifying against Lux would be stop himself from driving for the Genii owned Lotus F1 Team. Given that would be a big step backwards and McLaren still want Hamilton I doubt that is an issue at all.

      4. APAAPSPASPAAASA says:

        *by not buy

      5. Rodger says:

        Lux is not part of Genii, he co-owns the company. He’s a big cheese. His company owns Lotus, formerly known as Renault.
        If you cannot see a link between him and all the other Renault engine teams then you don’t know how F1 works. Trust me when I say Hamilton does not want to be on the wrong side of this guy.

      6. Grenada says:

        The difficult position is of Hamilton’s own making.
        Had he been open and honest about what happened that night and had he testified in the trial last week this would not have happened.

        Now he’ll be the focus of the appeal before the Landesgericht with both prosecution and defense ‘gunning’ for him and that in the midst of his 2012 season.

        This is going to be a major distraction.

      7. Sascha says:

        Hamilton will come and say exactly the same as he said in his written statement :
        He did not see what happened.
        Case over for him
        Why should he do anything beyond this for Sutil, especially after his and his fathers public insults?
        Sutil showed his true colours , why should Lewis risk anything for him even his career , for this guy?

    4. Richard says:

      Not sure if Hamilton can be compelled to give evidence, but I expect if he can he will providing the dates don’t clash, although that might lead to difficulties during the German race weekend. There’s no question that Sutil did something reprehensible and should be punished, however the only thing Hamilton could do is prove there was significant provocation which is no defence at all. One thing is for sure Sutil will have done himself no favours with Hamilton, but I expect Hamilton will stick to exactly what he saw. – No more no less!

      1. kevin green says:

        Im sure the courts are very keen to hear what Hamilton has to say all things considered no matter what it is and this time will ensure they can set a date to accommodate both Hamilton and mclaren’s schedule’s.

        Really cant see it being left to lie either way due to the severity of it all From guilty/not guilty or KEY witness particularly prosumably to what they have already said on the matter nearer to the time of the incident.

      2. Richard says:

        Look, with or without Hamilton evidence Sutil has been found guilty. It is quite ridiculous for others to claim it was an accident, I mean when was the last time anyone pushed a glass into someones face by accident! Sutil strikes me as a hot head, and having done something irrational is now consequently paying the price. I expect all the appeal will do is dig the hole a little deeper. Having said that Sutil is a quick driver, and it’s a great pity it’s come to this.

  2. For sure says:

    I am curious to read the whole story as in facts.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      As am i but im pretty sure my guess on it is pretty accurate as far as the bits that really matter go.

  3. MISTER says:

    Good for him. If he thinks the sentence is too harsh for whatever happened in that club, he should appeal and get the truth out.

    Wish him all the best, but he needs to be careful he doesn’t get a higher sentence.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      I feel he probably will but not by much –

      [Your posts have shown increasing signs of being anti Hamilton rants lately. Please read the rules. We do not accept any such behaviour here, regardless of the who the target is. Any future comments of this nature will simply be deleted - Mod]

      1. Kevin Green says:

        I cant see any reason at all why you should not put up that previous post even along side your one.

      2. James Allen says:

        [It was defamatory - Mod]

      3. Stephen Morgan says:

        This seems very harsh. Free speech?

      4. Kevin Green says:

        Thankyou Stephen thing is The Mediation on here know my guess (never said its facts) is about right.

      5. Rich C says:

        Rubbish!
        You can’t come into *my living room and shout insults or whatever at my visitors, and I imagine JA feels the same way about this ‘house.’

      6. kevin green says:

        Dont recall at any point insulting him just point out the very suspicious circumstances of it all Rich!

      7. kevin green says:

        Anyways a feel a lot more will be coming out in due course. Bets I am around about right.

      8. Just sayin' says:

        Freedom of speech rights do not extend to a privately owned website. The TOS/Guidelines of the website govern the behaviors and activities of the members. If you choose not to follow the guidelines agreed to during registration, then you accept the consequences.

      9. Kevin Green says:

        I have never Said anything for a fact for one on the matter just a view from the outside. Should have been in court! not to mention distancing ones self from a certain person pretty much immediately and by that i dont mean by running/walking away if that was the case.

    2. CH1UNDA says:

      The prosecution is also intending to appeal – for a stiffer sentence.

      1. kevin green says:

        Feel from Sutil’s point of view this is more about getting a Bite at hamilton. Understandable but silly and not right.

  4. franed says:

    What happened to the cctv footage that was supposed to clear Sutil of intent and show it was an accident?

    1. MISTER says:

      CCTV in a club is not going to be focused on one table. Is probably from distance and not showing much. That’s my best guess, but for the looks of it, Sutil thinks he’s defense has more to show.

    2. Sossoliso says:

      Shanghaied… Get it? Ha!ha!

  5. olivier says:

    Sutil! You are black flagged! Your race is over!

    Unless you (or Hamilton) can proof to the jury that you did offer your help to (a wounded) Lux.

  6. Grenada says:

    Good on Adrian to appeal, so far only half the story got out imo.

    Hope this time all witnesses will appear and some light will be shed on the involvement of Lewis Hamilton (and his bodyguards) in this incident.

    1. Davexxx says:

      Yes I agree about only part of the story coming out. I’ve heard so much ‘opinion’ that I don’t know where the truth actually lies. Regardless of whether Sutil and Hamilton had crashed someone else’s party, or whether Sutil ‘glassed’ Lux, it does sound to me that Lux started the physical action, so is primarily responsible – but there I go, giving my opinion when I haven’t seen all the facts! Sadly I fear the result won’t be overturned – Lux has Money and more higher-power friends than Sutil…

      1. CH1UNDA says:

        From what i read, it was a lady who was with Lux that started the whole thing by spilling her drink on Sutil. Lux was coming to her defence when Sutil confronted her and in the process got his neck slit.

        I think for Sutil to get reprieve he will need more witnesses than just Lewis. From what i recall, Alonso was there and so was PDLR. Wonder why he is not calling those chaps “cowards” as well.

      2. kevin green says:

        Probably because they were honest and said it for what it was at the time/soon after. or maybe had the sense to say they actually seen nothing way back then or even genuinely never seen anything defining even if they were there!

    2. Malcolm says:

      Grenada, I’ve seen this post on another site, and what was expressed their is soooo……true!!

      ” You’ve got to love how Hamilton has become the villain in an incident which he had nothing to do with, other than being in the same room when it happened. ”

      AMAZING!!!!

      1. kevin green says:

        Knowing right from wrong?? making ones voice very clear from what is or is not. Distancing ones self at the earliest or at least a very early opportunity from certain events or occurance’s if deemed right?? Think about it Malcolm

  7. goferet says:

    With this news & Sutil’s reaction after the first verdict, am more than confident Sutil is innocent & is just a victim of a witch hunt.

    I understand man slaughter can get you thrown in the slammer but this case doesn’t deserve Sutil’s name to have a criminal record because his F1 career rests on him being declared innocent.

    Now not many people get second chances especially to save a friendship, this is a perfect opportunity for Lewis to do the right thing this time & show up, hell even if it means he has to tell a couple of white lies, he should get it with it.

    Hopefully that handshake between Sutil & Eric Lux after the first trial will mean he won’t be so vindictive this time & so the appeal verdict will go Sutil’s way, at worst, Sutil should pay that fine to Lux & we call it a day.

    I hate seeing injustice in this world, we have enough problems as it is!

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Think it might turn out to be more complicated yet for someone other than Sutil.

    2. Optimaximal says:

      Wow, are you honestly suggesting Lewis pervert the course of justice ‘to save a friendship’ and ‘because he should get away with it’?

      I mean… Wow.

    3. Chapor says:

      Are you actually saying that Hamilton should tell a lie in court for the benefit of Sutil to save a friendship that clearly has no value to Lewis anyway?

      Why is Lewis even included here? Sutil stabbed Lux, that much is clear. He even admitted to it. It almost cost Lux his life! That much is clear as well. Never mind what Lewis saw or didn’t see, Sutil needs to be clear on the fact that he has to face the consequences of his actions. And the way he slandered Lewis in public, if he valued Lewis’s friendship, he would have made an effort to clear it up with him in private instead of resorting to a public outcry over the media. It is said that Lewis changed his phone number, but in these times and being connected within the F1 circles it should not have been impossible to track down his new number.

      I am sick and tired of hearing how Lewis should do the “honorable” thing and testify to save Sutil. And then if he testifies and through his testimony gets Sutil in even deeper trouble, then he is damned again. So Lewis can only do the wrong thing regardless of what he does… That is not fair on him imo.

  8. Jeremysmith says:

    It’s impossible to comment on this case at the present time, as we still do not have details as to what took place in that night club..

    I would have thought that Lewis Hamilton would have been subpoened to appear in court? As it seems that he is a reliable witness to what happened..

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      My point exactly – is Lewis on his own enough of a reliable witness to overturn the ruling; in my opinion – i dont think so. Sutil has to call in more witnesses – its no point dragging Hamilton’s name in the mud if his evidence won’t make much of a difference.

  9. TheBestPoint? says:

    Well now!

    As i said initially this is what he needs to do.

    he should also make sure he gets good counsel- not via his manager I would advise.

    I am not sure why German persocutors are being so anal about this though_makes one wonder about details of the case and evidence submitted.

    I bet Sutil, and Dad, wish they had been more circumspect with their immediate Press statements.

  10. Rich C says:

    I think this is a bad choice for Sutil.

    He only got a suspended sentence and a fine.

    If the verdict is overturned or whatever he might have to go to court again.

    And there’s always the possibility his punishment could get worse.

    He should just accept it and quit while he’s ahead.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Maybe feels someone else deserves to be punished one way or another under the circumstances all in all. His F1 career is already finished (race day at least anyway) Defo risky for him though cant see it getting reduced thats for sure.

    2. K says:

      Ah-ha, but what IF Eric Lux started the whole situation by provocation? That’d be a totally different story which deserves a different consequence in favour of Sutil. The tables would be turned and Lux should also be guilty.

      1. kevin green says:

        Must remember that next time someone calls be a p***k or whistles at my girlfriend etc (you get the drift) at least then i can force my pint glass into his throat and its all fine!!! Some people! pffft

      2. K says:

        I never said Lux would be guilty alone, I said “also be guilty”, which means Sutil would receive a sentence and Lux would receive some blame as well. I am not an expert in German law but I have some Common Law background so I just tried to apply what I understand into the situation.

    3. APAAPSPASPAAASA says:

      This isn’t something that is advisable if he could come out worse. Really either Sutil and his lawyer/s are completely stupid or this ruling was so far off the expected that almost anything would be better.

  11. Steven says:

    He should just take the punisment and start trying to get back in F1. He got away with a slap on the wrist, he should be glad, he could have had jail time. Some people dont know when to quit…

  12. To be fair, if the prosecution are appealing I guess he has no choice but to appeal also. Otherwise he’s seen to be accepting his conviction which might stand him on uneasy ground when the prosecution’s appeal is heard.

    1. kevin green says:

      It is the prosecutor’s as opposed to Sutil that are appealing is it???

    2. CH1UNDA says:

      Isn’t that curious – for such a minor offense, why is the prosecution so eager to spend more public funds on an appeal? Seriously, i am sure there is better uses the Germany government can put that money to than chase Lux’s fantasies.

      1. Jonathan says:

        GBH is not a minor offence

      2. Chris says:

        Fantasies – LoL Lux is the one who ended up with a hole in his neck, how would you feel if you were glassed and saw the culprit walk free from court? As the victim Lux is perfectly entitled to appeal for a harsher sentence.

        Sutil needs to sort himself out and take responsibility for his actions like a man. His attempts to wriggle free and deflect blame are frankly laughable.

    3. Garry Edward says:

      The prosecution are not instigating the appeal…..they are just warning that if Sutil appeals and loses then they are entitled to ask for a tougher sentence.

      Sutil has made bad decisions since the minute he left the scene of an incident in which he badly injured someone…. Why did he do that.?

      That is the question I would like to have answered.

      Others attempts to insinuate that Hamilton is in any way at fault just smacks of a personal agenda.

  13. Ernie says:

    I agree that Hamilton is in a no win situation. However, I feel that Hamilton, in the past has lived the F1 dream star lifestyle and therefore ocasionally will have to suffer its negative side.

  14. Ed Bone says:

    If Sutil is innocent then this is not the way to go about clearing his name. Branding a close friend a ‘coward’ in such a public manner does not show maturity or emotional balance, and given the violent act he has just been convicted of, it does not sit well with his pleas of injustice.

    Obviously Adrian feels betrayed by Hamilton, that much is clear, but Lewis’s actual involvement is unclear.

    If Sutil feels Hamilton’s testimony is so important to his case, why has he attacked his friend before going to appeal?

    I cant think of anything less likely to make Lewis appear nor McLaren release him unless they have to.

    Adrian has simply created a more poisonous atmosphere and left the open the door to more supposition, false implication and rumour regarding all aspects of his case, leading for example, to some of the more silly comments on this forum.

    1. kevin green says:

      think the depth of Sutil’s rant would have been due to what he long term believed Hamilton WAS apparently going to do/say in his favour. Sorry but the work commitments bit does not wash i dont believe if Sutil was innocent that for a minute Ron Dennis would have stood in the way of Justice in such a situation it would leave the mclaren group looking very very sour! most likely on advice via Mclaren that he was advised to keep away! leaving Mclaren at least looking neutral to the whole thing.

  15. Accidental Mick says:

    James,
    I seem to rember from the reports at the time that the group which included Hamilton (and presumably Sutil) were hustled away by minders/bouncers after the incident.
    If that is not something fading brain just made up, it seems a little unfair of Lux to complain that Sutil didn’t stay to help.
    Any comment?

  16. Matt W says:

    So now Hamilton not contacting Sutil actually seems quite responsible, as witnesses should not be speaking about the trial to defendants. Had he contacted Sutil would have compromised himself in any appeal.

    Not to mention he might not want to be Sutil’s mate after seeing him glass someone.

  17. Meeklo says:

    Hamilton’s testimony might change the verdict from Assault to Aggravated Assault. However it could implicate him as an accomplice as well, and its that I think he’s trying to avoid.

    We don’t know the whole story but from what we do, it appears that he did not try to stop Sutil, did not help an injured Lux, but did flee the scene of a crime with Adrian.

    “Flee’ing” might not be the right word, perhaps he dragged Sutil out of there to help and intervene in the conflict?

  18. Patrick says:

    Sutil’s reason for appeal is a reaction to the prosecuters decision to appeal. He has no choice in the matter. I would agree with most of what has been said if Sutil had lodged his appeal first but as he is reacting to the prosecuter, I fear that most of you have missed the point. Either way, Adrian is in a “no win” situation which is about what he deserves.

  19. John says:

    Am I missing something here?

    I fail to see what this has to do with German prosecutors – the incident happened in completely unconnected jurisdiction. The incident was in China against someone from yet another country.

    In this respect the only connection with Germany is that a German national has found an undesirable limelight. Surely any prosecution should have taken place in China. It makes one wonder who supplied the video footage.

    1. Chris says:

      German citizens can be prosecuted in Germany for crimes they commit in other countries

      1. Stu says:

        Just the citizens eh;)

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