NSW’s chief magistrate has admonished those prosecuting an Olympic rower over an alleged fatal hit and run after the case was beset by another delay.
Former German rowing world champion Matthias Ungemach, 52, is accused of failing to stop his car after a fatal collision involving a 66-year-old man in Freshwater in February 2020.
But rather than have the case committed for trial or drop the charges, a prosecutor on Thursday asked the case be delayed again because his colleague suffered an injury over summer and couldn’t return to work.
“It’s almost becoming epidemic of the DPP in failing (to abide by timing),” Judge Graeme Henson said, questioning if there was a “severe apathy” at the prosecuting authority.
“These are matters where a lot of people are interested. When someone dies unexpectedly, there are people who are concerned about what happens as to consequences, including the defendant.
Ungemach’s lawyer, Arthur Carney, opposed an application to have the matter delayed for another two weeks.
He said the only piece of evidence was a forensic report that he says states the pedestrian’s actions “caused” the death.
“You’d have thought someone would have read it,” he said.
Ungemach, who emigrated to Sydney’s northern beaches after retiring, was arrested in July after a four-month investigation into the crash.
He was charged with dangerous driving occasioning death, failing to stop and assist after a fatal collision and a back-up offence of negligent driving occasioning death.
His licence was also suspended.
“He’s an Olympian, a world champion … it’s ruining his life, there is no evidence to support the charges,” his lawyer said.
Ungemach was required to report to police daily until December when it was changed to weekly.
Judge Henson agreed to drop the reporting requirement all together, noting Australia’s borders were virtually shut.
“What’s the risk of flight? You can’t even get into Queensland,” he said.