Niklas Pöhler case Co-defendant Roman W. receives 15 months probation

Bonn · A Bonn juvenile court has sentenced co-defendant Roman W. to 15 months probation in the case of Niklas Pöhler. The main defendant was acquitted around two months ago, having also been on trial for the death of Niklas.

In the trial concerning 17-year-old Niklas Pöhler, who was killed in Bad Godesberg on May 7, 2016, a juvenile court in Bonn sentenced co-defendant Roman W. to 15 months of probation for his role in the youth’s fatal beating.

While a Bonn court acquitted main defendant Walid S. on May 2, expressing serious doubts about his role as perpetrator, the court was certain that 22-year-old Roman W. was one of a group of three young men who attacked Niklas. “For us, there is no doubt that he is the perpetrator who was described as being dressed in white (clothing).” While Roman W. had not responded to the allegations throughout the entire trial, his defense attorney Peter Krieger remained convinced that his client was not there on the night of May 2. The 22-year-old did confess, however, that he had attacked a witness in the case.

Roman W. clearly identified

In the court verdict, it was stated that Roman W. had clearly been identified by friends of Niklas. Even if he was not to be blamed for the fatal blow to the head which killed Niklas, he had been guilty because of his participation in the fight that led to the death of the teenager.

Circumstances contributing to a milder sentence included the fact that he had been previously without any criminal charges, and the court believed he had been falsely prejudiced by some of the media as a bully who was known to police. The court also took into consideration that he had already been behind bars for seven months while on trial, and said that he had initially acted to de-escalate the fight, before himself becoming involved - “probably because of a provocation,” said Judge Volker Kunkel.

Witness threatened and attacked

Weighing more negatively in the sentencing, the court addressed the fact that the defendant had threatened and struck a witness: “This was a deliberate and targeted attack on the judicial system’s search for the truth,” said Judge Kunkel. Courts are dependent on the courage of witnesses.

The court ordered Roman W. to pay 500 euros to the victim support group “White Ring” and ordered him to complete 100 hours of social service. In addition, he was told that he was not allowed to approach a witness in another case involving an attack. If he is found guilty of something during the period of probation, he will have to sit out the sentence in prison. Defense attorney Peter Krieger announced he would file an appeal.

(Orig. Text: Rita Klein/Translation: ck)

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