New Zealander sentenced for prison over 2006 Katowice Trade Hall disaster

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Polish top court upheld prison sentence for businessman Marek F.TVN24 News in English
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The Court of Appeals in Katowice on Tuesday sentenced a former board member of the Katowice International Fair New Zealander Bruce R. for 1.5 years in prison. He was found guilty of involuntary causing of a disaster at the Katowice Trade Hall (MTK Hall) which took the lives of 65 people.

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The verdict is legally binding, but it can be appealed against in the Supreme Court.

The MTK hall roof collapsed in January 2006 - a thick layer of ice and snow had covered the 10.000-square-metre rooftop. The accident took the lives of 65 people, injured 140, of which 26 sustained heavy injuries. It was the biggest construction disaster in the Polish history.

The prosecution wanted Bruce R. to be sentenced for 6 years in prison, the court of first instance had sentenced him for 3. The main claim was that despite being aware that the roof could collapse, the board member had not closed down the hall from public use. The prosecution reminded that it was the snow that directly caused the catastrophy.

The defense claims the defendant is not guilty, as he had not been aware of the danger. The defendant himself said in his "closing statement" that he would never put profit ahead of safety. He also reminded that when he had been in charge of the Katowice International Fair, he wasn't residing in the city permanently. He based his judgement on his associates whom he considered professionals, and he didn't receive any information regarding the necessity to take any urgent actions.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: tvn24