Immunity denied to speeding honorary consul

26th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 July 2004, KARLSRUHE - An honorary consul caught speeding on a German autobahn tried to claim diplomatic and consular immunity, but a state superior court in the southern city of Karlsruhe suspended his driving licence Monday - as would happen to anyone else.

26 July 2004

KARLSRUHE - An honorary consul caught speeding on a German autobahn tried to claim diplomatic and consular immunity, but a state superior court in the southern city of Karlsruhe suspended his driving licence Monday - as would happen to anyone else.

Court officials withheld the name of the man, 55, and the southern European country he represents.

Judges said immunity only applied if the car with CC plates was being used "in direct connection with consular duties".

The car was registered to the businessman's firm and it appeared he was on a business trip when a radar trap caught him driving at 164 kilometres per hour in February 2003 at a place where the limit was 120.

Local officials banned him from driving for a month and ordered him to pay a fine of EUR 100.

His secretary initially said he was on a business trip, then changed her mind. The man, who is chief executive of his business, could not explain what his consular duties on the day were.

Honorary consuls in Germany are often German businessmen who enjoy the prestige, and sometimes the immunity, of the office, and spend large sums of their own money on entertaining and administration.

Foreign diplomats and consular staff who flout traffic laws are often a thorn in the side of the police. Usually they can be punished only by persuading their missions to send them back home.

DPA

Subject: German news

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