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Ceturtdiena 02.04.2020 | Name days: Imgarde, Irmgarde

Ruling in Maxima tragedy criminal case to be appealed

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Maxima tragedy, court, ruling, prosecutorRiga City Pārdaugava Court’s ruling in the Maxima tragedy criminal case will definitely be appealed, said senior prosecutor Aivars Ostapko in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Thursday, 20 February.

He leans towards disagreeing with the court’s criticism of the quality of the investigation. Nevertheless, he stressed that the office of the prosecutor will explain its arguments in accordance with the procedure outlined in the law once the full text of the ruling has been received, because until this happens it is not possible to comment much.

«We will wait for the full ruling and then react and definitely appeal it,» said Ostapko.

Ostapko also says the communication the court has had in the public space is not exactly successful because one of the sides is accused of the outcome of the case. «I wanted to say STOP, because what we’ve done is dig a ditch between the composition of the court and court participants.»

On Tuesday, 18 February, Riga City Pārdaugava Court commenced reading the ruling in the so-called Maxima tragedy criminal case, sentencing construction engineer Ivars Sergets to six years in prison, as well as five year prohibition to work in his profession.

The court also maintained security measures applied to him in force.

The office of the prosecutor wanted seven years and six months in prison for Sergets.

Construction examination expert Andris Gulbis, architect Andris Kalinka, construction supervisor Mārtiņš Draudiņš, as well as construction company Re&Re construction process foreman Staņislavs Kumpiņš, on the other hand, have been acquitted.

Riga City Council Construction Office’s Legal Department’s Construction Supervisory Office expert Marika Treija, as well as Construction Office’s Inspectorate deputy chief Aija Meļņikova and construction office employee Jānis Balodis have also been found not guilty.

Maxima Latvija work safety senior expert Inna Šuvajeva has also been found not guilty in the crimes she’d been accused of in the criminal case.

The sentence will become subject to appeal once the full text has become available.

After the sentence was announced, multiple victims present at the hearing demonstratively left the courtroom. Among them was «Zolitūde 21.11.» association’s leader, Harmony party politician Regīna Ločmele-Luņova.

It can be expected that the compensation for what happened will likely be enforced only from Sergets, because he is the only one found guilty. So far the court has calculated to enforceable compensation amount at nearly EUR 100 000. The reading of the list of compensations has only just begun.

A total of 198 court hearings have taken place as part of the criminal case. Nine people were among the accused.

During the 4 February hearing of this case the accused were allowed their final words. They mostly expressed regret over what happened. They also denied their guilt.

November 2019 marked six years since the tragedy in Zolitude in which 54 people were killed and many dozen were injured when the roof of a Maxima supermarket caved in. The tragedy occurred on 21 November 2013.

The pre-trial investigation lasted for nearly two years. The trial itself lasted for three years and 11 months.

Construction experts concluded the tragedy took place because of improperly calculated roof support loads. The office of the prosecutor presented nine people with charges for violation of construction regulations, negligence of state official duties, death by accident and violation of work safety regulations.

The office of the prosecutor presented charges to five people over the collapse of a portion of a building that caused serious consequences. These people include Sergets, Gulbis, Draudiņš, Kalinka and Kumpiņš. The prosecutor also accused them of causing death by accident.

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  1. Bob says:

    Any risky task in engineering has to be checked twice. That only one person is found guilty is quite surprising in this regard. Besides, the engineering sector loves young inexperienced people because they are cheap. Why isn”t that on the plate as well?

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