In the trial of an alleged cult murder in Hanau, the statement of the defendant Sylvia D. before the Frankfurt Regional Court has been postponed. The reason for this is that after the last day of the trial, D. had to hand in documents for trial preparation upon arrival at the correctional facility. The defence therefore requested that the trial be adjourned. According to the defence, the documents are copies of a handwritten draft of D's statement. Since these were not signed by the court or packed in an envelope marked as defence counsel's mail, D. was not allowed to take them with him to her detention room.
After the incident, one of the two defense lawyers described the situation to the presiding judge. He had arranged for the notes to be handed over. However, the documents that were "of fundamental importance for the statement" had not been received to date, the defense criticized. His client's right to an effective defence was not secured.
Sylvia D. expressed concern that the copies had now "disappeared". When, after a short call to the correctional facility, the presiding judge announced during the break in the trial that the notes had arrived on Friday morning via the in-house mail and that she had missed them due to the trial date, D. said: "I'm glad they didn't put them in my room and say I've had them all along." Until the next day of the hearing, the Chamber will decide whether to adjourn the main hearing. If this is not the case, Sylvia D. could testify. The defense had announced an opening statement on the first day of the trial.
Four-year-old boy suffocated in linen bag
The 75-year-old defendant is accused of murder for low motives. She is said to be to blame for the death of a four-year-old boy who fell unconscious in a linen bag in August 1988 and choked on vomit. It is the second trial against D. in this case. The Hanau Regional Court had sentenced the woman to life imprisonment in 2020. However, the Federal Court of Justice overturned the verdict in May last year and referred the case to Frankfurt for a new hearing.
The Federal Court of Justice criticized that the Hanau judges should have dealt more closely with whether the boy had been killed by active action or by omission of the cult leader. In addition, the district court had assumed that the woman had wanted to kill the four-year-old without having proven this. It was not clear what was going on in her head. Their culpability must also be re-examined.