The officer was sentenced to a fine of 5,760 euros and a conditional prison sentence of six months for grossly negligent manslaughter.
“You think you’ve seen everything and then something like this happens,” said prosecutor Hansjörg Bacher. The accused had held an exercise with a group of police officers in the offices of the state police headquarters, during which the fatal shot was fired. “The devil was sitting somewhere in the basement waiting for something to happen,” said judge Andreas Rom. Everyone involved was visibly shocked by the incident, which, according to Bacher, meant “the abrupt end of a hopeful police career.”
The 40-year-old accused, visibly marked by the incident, found it difficult to talk about the course of events. On that day, he made sure that the exercise participants kept all their weapons safely in a locker “to prevent unintentional access”. Fatally, he forgot his own service pistol. Then three men with – red – practice pistols should practice a situation. “I wanted to correct a mistake,” said the accused. So he stood behind one of his colleagues and wanted to demonstrate that you should only hold the gun in front of your body or pointing down to the side. “The worst thing that can happen is that if the perpetrator shows up and a shot hits the man in front, you’re scared or tripping,” he explained. To demonstrate this, he pulled the trigger and fatally injured the 27-year-old man in front. “It was only at that moment that I realized that I had fired my sharp weapon,” he said through tears.
“Right from the start he didn’t sugarcoat anything or look for an excuse,” the defender added. His client has now also spoken to the family of the dead man. “What do you say to parents whose son you shot?” asked the defendant in despair. He described the colleague as “fun-loving, very committed and bright”. He himself is in therapy and clearly has trouble processing what happened. “There were only victims that day,” the prosecutor was convinced. Since this incident – at least in Styria – only two people have been allowed to lead such a training together.
The judge found a fine of 5,760 euros and six months’ conditional imprisonment for the grossly negligent manslaughter to be appropriate, as this allows the accused to remain in the police service. The policeman accepted the verdict, the prosecutor did not give any explanation. The judgment is not final.