Prague - The Prague Municipal Court sentenced Czech lobbyist and businessman Roman Janousek to three years in prison over knocking down a woman with his car while drunk driving three years ago.
Janousek is an influential lobbyist with links to the highest political echelons in Prague when it was dominated by the Civic Democratic Party (ODS).
Janousek was on very friendly terms with former Prague mayor Pavel Bem (ODS) and reputedly had a firm grip on much of the lucrative public procurement in Prague.
The court ruled that Janousek was guilty of serious bodily harm under the influence of an addictive substance. However, it did not agree with the state attorney who said it was an attempted murder, which carried up to 18 years in prison.
In addition, the court imposed a five-year driving ban on Janousek.
The verdict can be still appealed.
The incident occurred on March 23, 2012 in a southern neighbourhood of Prague. Janousek crashed into a car driving ahead of him, but he did not stop. After driving several dozens of metres he stopped at the red light.
The driver of the crashed car, then 51-year-old Vietnamese woman, turned up and took a position in front of Janousek's luxurious Porsche. She beat on its bonnet in an effort to make Janousek get out.
However, after the green light appeared, Janousek drove forwards, knocked the woman down and drove away.
The state attorney says Janousek must have known that he could kill the woman.
The woman suffered injuries that doctors qualified as life-threatening. She spent about six weeks in hospital.
Shortly afterwards the police stopped Janousek, whose breathalyser test showed over 2 per mille of alcohol in his blood.
Janousek later made an extra-court settlement deal with the woman and paid a financial compensation to her.
Judge Tomas Kubovec said today it was not an attempted murder because Janousek was unable to react adequately to the situation due to being drunk.
Janousek at first claimed that he did not see the woman at the moment of the crash. However, the claim was refuted by an expert report.