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Lengthy prison sentence requested for the accused in Maxima tragedy case

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe prosecution asks the court to sentence the accused in Maxima tragedy criminal case to 7.5 years in prison as well as add a five-year period in which the accused are not allowed to take specific posts.

On Wednesday, 26 June, prosecutors concluded reading their debate speech and requested penalty for nine accused persons.

A seven and a half year prison sentence is requested for construction engineer Ivars Sergets, Maxima supermarket’s construction inspector Andris Gulbis, construction supervisor Mārtiņš Draudiņš, architect Andris Kalinka and construction company Re&Re construction manager Staņislavs Kumpiņš.

A five-year prison sentence is requested for Riga City Construction Office workers – Jānis Balodis, Legal Office’s Construction Monitoring Department expert Marika Treija and deputy chief of the construction inspectorate Aija Meļņikova. The same prison sentence is also requested for Maxima Latvija senior work safety expert Inna Šuvajeva.

For Sergets and Gulbis, the prosecutor invited to add the time they have already spent under arrest to the requested term in prison.

As previously reported, April marked the end of the trial investigation. It was then decided to commence legal debates in the middle of June. Initially the prosecution requested three months to prepare for debates, explaining the request with the size of the case and the number of people involved in it.

Legal debates represent one of the conclusive stages in the review of the case. The law states the prosecutor starts legal debates. The accused or their lawyer speaks next. The prosecutor explains their opinion in relation to the accused person’s guilt and explains the form of penalty and its severity. The length of legal debates is not limited. Once debates are over, participants are given their last words.

If participants reveal any new information regarding the case in their final speech or reference evidence that was not presented or evaluated in court, it is possible the judge could decide on restarting the investigation.

As previously reported, the court currently views the criminal case launched in relation to the tragedy that occurred in Zolitude on 21 November 2013, when the roof of a Maxima supermarket collapsed, killing 54 and injuring dozens of people.

Construction experts concluded that the tragedy occurred because the roof support structure’s load was not calculated properly, causing supports to eventually fail. The prosecutor has raised charges against nine persons for violating construction regulations, negligence with state official’s duties, causing death by accident, and violating work safety rules.


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