Light­ing com­pany di­rec­tor jailed for Qawra stage col­lapse that left woman paral­ysed

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Ju­lian Bon­nici

A court yes­ter­day jailed the di­rec­tor of a light­ing com­pany, Son­lit Ltd, for 10 months af­ter he was found to be re­spon­si­ble for the col­lapse of a struc­ture at a party in Qawra which left a Ukrainian woman paral­ysed in Septem­ber 2008.

Mau­rice At­tard, of Mosta, had been sub­con­tracted by the or­gan­is­ers of the party to in­stall the heavy light­ing equip­ment at a party on Triq it-Trunciera, op­po­site the Ta’ Fra Ben restau­rant in Qawra.

Three hours into the event strong winds shook the struc­ture and it col­lapsed onto a 120-strong crowd stand­ing in front of the stage, with eight per­sons be­ing in­jured. Valdyslava Kravchenko, who was 17 at the time, suf­fered se­vere in­juries to the head and spine.

The court, which was presided over by Mag­is­trate Don­natella Frendo Dimech, said that health and safety should al­ways be a pri­or­ity in any ac­tiv­ity, not just within a work en­vi­ron­ment.

“It is truly shame­ful that a per­son’s life is changed overnight just be­cause she hap­pened to be in a par­tic­u­lar place at a par­tic­u­lar time”, the court ob­served.

The two or­gan­is­ers of the party were never charged and had re­fused to an­swer ques­tions to the po­lice in fear that they would in­crim­i­nate them­selves.

In­spec­tor Frank Tabone pros­e­cuted.

Lawyers Gian­nella de Marco and Gian­luca Caru­ana Cur­ran, ap­pear­ing for the ac­cused, gave no­tice of ap­peal.

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