RIGA - 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.
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 reading of the verdict is still ongoing.
After the judge read out the judgments, several victims of the store collapse tragedy, as well as politician Regina Locmele-Lunova (Harmony) demonstratively left the courtroom.
The Zolitude store collapse case was heard in 198 court sittings and nine people were tried in connection with the tragedy.
In their closing statements at last Tuesday's court hearing, the defendants denied their guilt for the deadly collapse of the supermarket, expressed their condolences to the victims' families and voiced perplexity over the charges levied against them.
As reported, the court completed investigation in the case in April 2019, and debates started in the middle of June 2019.
As reported, 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.
The Prosecutor's Office charged five persons with violations of construction regulations and criminal negligence: construction engineer Ivars 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.
Three Riga Construction Board officials - Janis Balodis, Marika Treija and Aija Melnikova - were charged with failure to act and criminal negligence.
Balodis and Treija do not work at the Construction Board anymore.
A Maxima employee, Inna Suvajeva, was also a defendant in the case.
All nine accused have pleaded not guilty.