Municipal Court acquits two builders accused in Prague house collapse
The Municipal Court in Prague has finally acquitted Daniel Rada, owner of the construction company Sting, and Ladislav Poledna, a construction manager, who were facing charges over the collapse of a reconstructed house in Soukenická Street in the centre of Prague. Four workers died in the collapse in October 2009. According to expert reports, the defendants were not to blame for the collapse of the house, but the officials who issued the building permits for the reconstruction were much more to blame.
Rada and Poledna were facing charges of general endangerment, for which they could face up to 10 years' unconditional sentence if convicted. In October 2019, the court sent them to prison for five years in an unconfirmed verdict. It based its decision mainly on the opinion of the Brno University of Technology. However, the Court of Appeal overturned the verdict and ordered the first-instance chamber to pay more attention to other opinions that, on the contrary, testified in favor of the two builders. The first instance court with a new judge eventually acquitted both men of the charges. After an appeal by the prosecutor, the case was again brought before the city court of appeal, which agreed with the acquittal verdict of the first instance.
The president of the appeals chamber, Richard Petrásek, concluded that no connection could be drawn between the dredging of the house's foundations and its collapse, as the prosecutor had originally argued. The judge also criticised the officials who had authorised the reconstruction of the 140-year-old building, which was also flooded in 2002. "The building permit should not have been issued at all, because it was completely outdated due to its age," said Petrásek.
On 2 October 2009, the ceilings of four floors collapsed during the reconstruction of a house in Prague's Soukenická Street, which was being converted into a hotel by a Spanish investor. Four foreign workers died in the rubble, including two Bulgarians, a Ukrainian and a Moldovan. Two hundred firefighters tried to rescue them from the rubble.
Source: Hospodářské noviny (HN) and CTK