Brakes on Ferrari that fatally hit security guard worked fine, Hong Kong court hears

Trial continues for Deutsche Bank executive whose luxury car was involved in the accident last year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 July, 2016, 4:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 July, 2016, 9:20pm

The brake systems were in good shape when a senior expatriate banker rammed his Ferrari into a security guard in a fatal accident last year, Hong Kong prosecutors told a court on Wednesday.

However, Robert Ebert, Deutsche Bank’s head of equities for Asia Pacific at the time, told police after his arrest that the brake failed to respond when his second-hand black Ferrari 458 Spider hit Ku Lap-chi on June 9 last year at the Waterfront car park in Kowloon Station, the District Court heard.

“He failed to negotiate the vehicle and hit [Ku],” assistant director of public prosecutions David Chan quoted Ebert as saying.

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The prosecutor said forensic examinations showed the banker’s vehicle might have been going at about 97km per hour just before the moment of impact on a road whose speed limit is 30km per hour.

Ebert, 48, denies one count of causing the death of the 53-year-old security guard by dangerous driving.

He failed to negotiate the vehicle
prosecutor David Chan

In an opening statement read out on Wednesday, Chan alleged that on the day in question Ebert was driving his car on an unnamed road leading to the car park where Ku, who watched the premises, was chatting with a driver in another vehicle at an exit.

The other driver, Lee Hon-keung, stopped his Maserati at the exit before making his way out, having heard loud engine sounds coming from the unnamed road, the court heard.

Subsequently, Chan alleged, Ebert’s Ferrari ploughed into the car park at a high speed, hitting Ku and sending him flying.

In his testimony on Wednesday, Lee recalled what happened seconds before the Ferrari rammed into a kiosk. “It looked like it wanted to steer to the left and then right, moving left and right,” he said.

Chan said the banker then approached a passer-by and asked him to call police.

Ku was ambulanced to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he was certified dead hours later, the court heard.

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The prosecutor said later examinations of the Ferrari by the Transport Department revealed nothing irregular in the braking systems.

The Ferrari received regular check-ups from its official dealer, with the most recent one on March 9 – three months before the accident – he continued, and the braking systems were found to be working properly at that time.

Ferrari technical engineer Martino Casolari is to fly in from the car manufacturer’s headquarters in Italy and testify as a prosecution witness in the case, he added.

The trial continues before judge Amanda Woodcock on Thursday.