Appeal bid granted for British banker jailed over Ferrari crash that killed Hong Kong security guard

Court finds trial judge had misunderstood the defence’s case and leaned too heavily on evidence from an unreliable eyewitness

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 July, 2017, 1:10pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 July, 2017, 1:39pm

A British banker who was found guilty of killing a Hong Kong security guard while driving his Ferrari at three times the speed limit will be allowed to appeal his conviction.

Robert Ebert, Deutsche Bank’s former head of equities for Asia Pacific, was found guilty last year of dangerous driving causing death and sentenced to 21 months in jail.

Ebert, who was 48 at the time of the crash, lost control when he switched his black Ferrari 458 Spider to race mode at the Waterfront car park in Kowloon on June 9, 2015, District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock found at Ebert’s trial last year.

He knocked down 53-year-old security guard Ku Lap-chi, who died from his injuries later that day.

On Thursday, the High Court granted Ebert leave to appeal his conviction, finding that the trial judge had misunderstood the defence’s case and had leaned too heavily on evidence from an unreliable eyewitness.

The defence had argued that the Ferrari’s braking system had failed as Ebert drove along a stretch of road to his office at the International Commerce Centre.

Ebert would have needed to lift his foot off the brake pedal and slam it down with an incredibly high degree of force to get the car to decelerate, the defence said.

Senior expat banker found guilty in Ferrari crash that killed car park security guard jailed 21 months

Court of Appeal vice-president Michael Lunn QC found Woodcock had made a mistake by not considering the steps needed to be taken if the brakes failed.

But Lunn dismissed two other grounds for appeal, including that the trial judge had failed to give adequate consideration to evidence showing Ebert had tried to brake.

At trial, the prosecution argued that there was no evidence the brakes failed or were faulty at the time of the accident.

The speed limit on the stretch is 30km/h, but at one point Ebert drove at an estimated 97km/h, Woodcock said while giving reasons for her verdict last year.

“I find there is no other explanation other than the defendant lost control at speed,” she said.