Start of the process in Berlin: "Continue to drive unchecked"
Photo: Fabian Sommer / dpa
In June 2022, a 29-year-old drove a car into two groups of pedestrians in Berlin.
Eight months after the fatal drive on Ku'damm, the trial against the driver began in the capital's district court.
The public prosecutor accuses him of murder and, in numerous cases, attempted murder and dangerous bodily harm.
The gunman was taken to forensic psychiatry shortly after the crime.
According to the public prosecutor's office, a preliminary psychiatric report suggests that the man is not guilty.
In a so-called security procedure, prosecutor Silke van Sweringen is seeking permanent placement in a psychiatric ward.
The man had been suffering from schizophrenia since at least 2014.
Without treatment, the authorities fear that the accused will commit further dangerous crimes.
The public prosecutor accuses the accused of intentionally driving a car into the pedestrian groups on June 8, 2022 on Kurfürstendamm (Ku'damm) and Tauentzienstraße.
He was aware that there could be fatalities.
He accepted that with approval.
His client will initially not comment on this, his defense attorney said.
Students should be spared testimony in court
The investigators assume that the amok driver on June 8th deliberately drove a car on the Ku'damm near Breitscheidplatz into a group of students from Hesse.
A 51-year-old teacher was killed.
A colleague and twelve students between the ages of 14 and 17 were injured, some critically.
After that, the accused "continued the journey unchecked," as prosecutor van Sweringen said.
"The journey only ended when he broke through a shop window." Previously, the car hit a 32-year-old, who was seven months pregnant, and two 29 and 31-year-old men standing in front of a snack bar, seriously injuring them.
According to presiding judge Thomas Groß, there is a risk of re-traumatization from the proceedings for numerous victims.
Above all, he wants to spare the young people affected, if possible, additional psychological stress through the questioning of witnesses.
In order to be able to consider their experiences in the process, earlier statements should be read out.
He wanted to give the young people "space here without forcing them into this space," said Groß.
According to the court, eleven victims are also involved in the proceedings as joint plaintiffs.
On the first day of the trial, an expert was first heard about the course of the incident.
On the second day of the trial on February 17, the competent 22nd Criminal Chamber plans to question the seriously injured teacher from Hesse as a witness.
So far, the court has planned a total of twelve days of hearings.
The verdict could therefore be pronounced on April 21st.