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Court points at significant deficiencies in work of prosecution in Maxima store cave-in case
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    Court points at significant deficiencies in work of prosecution in Maxima store cave-in case

    RIGA, Feb 18 (LETA) - The Riga Pardaugava District Court judges in a press conference after the court sitting on the Maxima store collapse case pointed at deficiencies in the work of the maintainers of state prosecution when preparing the case for court.

    Judge Erlens Ernstons, explaining the court's decision to acquit almost all defendants in the case, except civil engineer Ivars Sergets, said that the case that was handed down to court had significant deficiencies and the court has no rights to amend them. One of the examples is that several individuals were named victims illegally, therefore the court was not able to enforce compensations in their favor.

    Also, revising the submitted evidence, it turned out that almost all defendants can be acquitted because the court could not find them guilty in the crimes.

    Ernstons also said that prosecutors had handed much evidence to the court, but most of that could not be used at court.

    Explaining the court ruling in the case, the judge said that the court's decision is just and objective and has not been affected by the public opinion. 

    Prosecutor's were surprised about the court ruling and court criticizing their work. Prosecutor's Kaspars Cakuls, Jekaterina Kusakova and Agris Skradalis said that they have not yet got acquainted with the court's motivation, but the prosecutor's have done everything possible in pre-trial investigation and supervision of the criminal procedure.

    As reported, Riga City Pardaugava Court on Tuesday handed down a jail sentence of six years to civil engineer Ivars Sergets for the collapse of a Maxima supermarket in Riga's Zolitude neighborhood in 2013, as the judge started reading the verdict in the high-profile case.

    Sergets has also been banned from working in his profession for years, according to the court ruling. All the security measures imposed on Sergets have been left in place as well.

    Also, more than EUR 5 million will be enforced from him for the victim and relatives of victims. Moral compensations vary from EUR 1,000 to EUR 100,000.

    The prosecutor had sought a jail term of seven years and six months for Sergets.

    Construction inspection expert Andris Gulbis, construction supervisor Martins Draudins, architect Andris Kalinka who designed the collapsed supermarket, and construction company Re&Re construction operations manager Stanislavs Kumpins were acquitted of all charges.

    Three Riga Construction Board officials - Janis Balodis, Marika Treija and Aija Melnikova as well as for Inna Suvajeva, senior expert in work safety in Maxima were also cleared of all charges.

    The parties will be able to appeal the verdict when the court releases its full text.

    The Zolitude store collapse case was heard in 198 court sittings and nine people were tried in connection with the tragedy.

    The court completed investigation in the case in April 2019, and debates started in the middle of June 2019.

    54 people died and several dozen were injured as a Maxima supermarket in Riga's Zolitude neighborhood collapsed on November 21, 2013. Construction experts have concluded that the tragedy occurred as a result of wrongly calculated maximum loads for the roof of the building.

    • Published: 18.02.2020 18:34
    • Gatis Kristovskis, LETA
    • Karlis Arajs, LETA
    • © The given news may not be republished in any way or amount, or otherwise used by the mass media or Internet websites, without written permission of LETA. If this provision is not observed, the matter will be taken to court pursuant to the laws and regulations of the Republic of Latvia.
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