Israel Finds Owners of Collapsed Hall Guilty

From Reuters

Three wedding hall owners were found guilty Wednesday of causing death through negligence more than three years after the building collapsed, killing 23 people and injuring more than 350.

A floor on the third story of the building broke apart as hundreds of people danced at a wedding in May 2001. An investigation later found structural problems.

An 18-page verdict handed down by Judge Haim Li-Ran found the owners of the Versailles hall in southern Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood guilty of having failed to consult an engineer when the floor showed signs of buckling before the wedding.

“In their failure to call in an engineer they were negligent, and bear responsibility for what occurred,” the judge wrote. He acquitted a fourth Israeli who had been contracted to do flooring work at the hall.

Five other Israelis have been charged separately in connection with the disaster, including an architect accused of having devised a simplified building design blamed for the collapse.