Architect and directors found guilty of involuntary homicide at Seabank Hotel

An architect and two directors of a construction company were declared guilty of causing the death of a Latvian worker during refurbishment works at Seabank Hotel in Għadira Bay in 2012.

The directors of B&B Construction Limited, Etienne and Angelus Bartolo, together with Architect Pierre Farrugia had pleaded not guilty to having, through negligence caused the death of Maksims Artamonovs. The 27-year-old was crushed to death during works at the hotel.

The three were condemned each to a two-year jail term suspended for four years.

Artamonovs had been dismantling scaffolding in the car park when two floors of the Seabank Hotel collapsed on him.

In a lengthy judgement, Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech observed that there had clearly been a lack of communication between the architect who had issued instructions via email and the contractors putting them into practice on the construction site.

The parties had been working in isolation from each other without ensuring the stability of the structure, the court observed.

The Court said that there was no doubt that the contractors’ and architects’ shortcomings had led to the death of the victim.

The Court observed that through their negligence which resulted in the totally defective construction of the structure, the worker had lost his life. It added that the consequences would have been far more catastrophic had the incident occurred when the hotel was in operation.

Magistrate Donatelle Frendo Dimech said that there was an urgent need to distinguish the various roles and responsibilities of the architects involved in large scale projects. A distinction between the architect who signed the permit application and the one who has to bear responsibility for the execution of the project. The Court emphasized that the authorities had to carry out all necessary checks.

Etienne and Angelus Bartolo, and Perit Pierre Farrugia were found guilty of involuntary homicide and were condemned to a two-year jail term suspended for four years.