Engineer jailed for lethal collapse in supermarket Latvia

RIGA: A Latvian court on Tuesday sentenced an engineer to six years in jail for a collapse on the roof of a supermarket in 2013 that killed 54 people in the worst peacetime disaster in the Baltic country.

The collapse of the Maxima store in a suburb of the capital, Riga, wounded dozens and led to the resignation of the prime minister.

President Erlens Ernstsons found 38-year-old Ivars Sergets “guilty of homicidal negligence due to serious errors in structural calculations, which led directly to collapse.”

The verdict was broadcast live online from the Riga court.

Ernstsons also ordered Sergets, who had pleaded not guilty, to pay 5.7 million euros ($ 6.2 million) in damages to the families of the victims.

Eight other defendants were acquitted.

They include architects, construction project managers, a security specialist from Maxima and former officials of the Construction Supervision Authority of the City of Riga.

The relatives of the victims left the courtroom in a silent protest for what they said was a light sentence.

“Years of pain during the court hearings, and now only one convict with only six years to serve in prison? For 54 lives? It’s like spitting in our faces, “Regina Locmele-Lunova told local media.

Judge Ernstsons also ordered a new investigation aimed at producers of allegedly defective roof components after discovering that prosecutors had not properly investigated all aspects of the disaster.

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