Two men have been found guilty and a third man was acquitted on Tuesday, after Munich prosecutors accused them of denying help to a drowning man.
The three men – Dennis G., Adem I. and Zlatko P. – were working as rail labourers on the Braunau rail bridge in the south of the city on May 22nd 2015 when the incident occurred, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.
Their colleague Stefan D. turned up late for work and was apparently drunk. Prosecutors allege that at least one of the men made a bet with the 22-year-old that involved him jumping into the river below, which was surging due to recent rains.
The young man jumped. Although Dennis G. and Adem I. both saw him struggling in the water neither took any action to help him, such as calling the emergency services. Instead they kept working, the prosecution claimed.
In the days after he drowned Stefan D’s worried mother reported him as missing to the police.
But the three men kept quiet. They came to a deal that, if anyone came to ask them about Stefan D.'s whereabouts, they would say they sent him home on May 22nd and never saw him again, prosecutors alleged.
Three weeks later Stefan D.’s body was found near the Cornelius Bridge.
But Dennis G. couldn’t live with the lie.
“It was dancing around my conscience – I couldn’t sleep anymore,” the 33-year-old said in court.
After discussing what happened with his girlfriend, he went to the police.
Adem I.’s lawyer told the court that her client did not expect Stefan D. to take the bet seriously. He also expected that the young man would be able to save himself by hanging onto the pillar of a bridge further down the river.
Zlatko P., who was the foreman in the team, claimed that he had not seen the young man jump into the river and that he had also not thought anything of it when he did not turn up to work again.
The prosecutors held all three men accountable for a lack of action, calling for probationary sentences of six to seven months.
The court decided to fine Dennis G. and Adem I. €4,500 and €3,750, respectively. Zlatko P. was acquitted.