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Maxima tragedy criminal case viewing concludes; ruling promised in mid-February

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Maxima, trial, ruling, courtOn Tuesday, 4 February, Riga City Pārdaugava Court concluded listening to the last words of the accused in the so-called Zolitude Maxima supermarket tragedy criminal case and announced the ruling will be announced on 18 February.

In accordance with the Criminal Procedure Law, the court can announce a shortened ruling and then write a full ruling later following which the two involved sides are able to decide on appealing.

During 4 February court session the accused denied allegations, expressed sympathy for the victims and their relations, as well as said they are confused over the charges presented to them.

The accused construction engineer Ivars Sergets mentioned in his last words that he is sad the tragedy occurred. However, opposite to the state prosecution, he does not understand the charges. Sergets explained he has not had an opportunity to fully use his defence. Other accused said the same.

November 2019 marked six years since Zolitude tragedy, when the roof of a Maxima supermarket caved in, killing 54 people and injuring several dozen. Police and office of the prosecutor performed the investigation for approximately two years. The trial has so far gone to three years and seven months.

In June the office of the prosecutor concluded its debate speech, explaining opinions about the form and size of penalties for the accused.

The office of the prosecutor wants seven years and six months in prison for construction engineer Ivars Sergets, store project construction examination expert Andris Gulbis, construction supervisor Mārtiņš Draudiņš, architect Andris Kalinka and Re&Re construction manager Staņislavs Kumpiņš.

Five years in prison is the sentence the office of the prosecutor wants for Riga City construction office workers Jānis Balodis, Legal Affairs Office’s Construction Monitoring Office expert Marika Treija and construction office vice-chief Aija Meļņikova. The same sentence is requested for Maxima Latvija work safety office’s senior expert Inna Šuvajeva.

The office of the prosecutor also asked the court to add the time Sergets and Gulbis have already spent under arrest to their prison sentence.

On top of that, the office of the prosecutor wants to prohibit the accused from performing their respective duties for a period of five years.

The office of the prosecutor also wants coercive measures for companies involved in the case: a fine for building design architect firm Kubs worth 200 minimal wages, a fine of 200 minimal wages for construction monitoring company CM Consulting, a fine of 6 000 minimal wages for construction company Re&Re, a fine of 2 000 minimal wages for Maxima Latvija.

Construction experts have concluded that the tragedy occurred because construction personnel had improperly calculated the permissible carrying load for the roof structure. This resulted in the roof collapsing in on itself. The office of the prosecutor has presented charges to nine persons for violating construction requirements, negligence of official duties, causing death by accident and violation of work safety requirements.

The office of the prosecutor has presented charges against five people for violating construction requirements, causing death by accident.

Read also: Court sees personal promotion attempts in claims about delays with Maxima tragedy case

Keywords: court Maxima ruling trial


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