German Court fines 3 for failing to help ailing retiree in bank

19 September 2017

As a neatly dressed elderly man lay unconscious in the foyer of a bank in western Germany, four people stepped over or around him to make their way to cash machines.

Help came only after a fifth person called an ambulance, security camera footage from three angles on that afternoon last October showed.

On Monday, a district court in Essen convicted three people of failing to help the man, an 83-year-old retiree whose family asked that he not be publicly identified, and who died in a hospital a week after the events, in a case that has prompted soul-searching about compassion for others.

"No one wanted to help," the district court judge, Karl-Peter Wittenberg, said in announcing his verdict.

The judge fined three defendants, identified only as a 39-year-old woman and men ages 55 and 61, between 2,400 and 3,600 euros, about $2,900 to $4,300, for failing to help the man. A fourth defendant was deemed unfit for trial.

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Photo: open sources

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