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Driver who had epileptic fit and crashed guilty of negligent homicide

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By AP
The off-road vehicle veered onto the pavement and crashed into a building plot in the Mitte district of Berlin in September 2019.
The off-road vehicle veered onto the pavement and crashed into a building plot in the Mitte district of Berlin in September 2019.   -   Copyright  Paul Zinken/dpa via AP

A driver has been handed a two-year suspended jail sentence over the death of four people in Berlin.

The 45-year-old suffered an epileptic fit and crashed his Porsche SUV into a group of pedestrians in the centre of the German capital in 2019.

A three-year-old boy, his 64-year-old grandmother, and a couple in their late 20s from Spain and Britain were killed in the incident while waiting at a traffic light.

The man -- whose name wasn’t published for privacy reasons -- was found guilty of negligent homicide on Thursday.

Prosecutors alleged the driver should not have been behind the wheel because he had recently undergone brain surgery.

The defendant said during the trial that he had suffered a first epileptic fit months before the crash but believed the operation and medication would prevent him from suffering another. His young daughter and a 67-year-old woman were in the car with him at the time. They were hospitalised after the crash.

The crash has also sparked a debate in Germany about restricting the use of powerful sports utility vehicles in city centres. Safety campaigners and some politicians argue that such cars pose a particular danger to other road users.