Saturday, January 28, 2017

Court drops Makkah crane case 'over lack of jurisdiction'

A Saudi criminal court has declared that it was dropping the case related to the 2015 Makkah crane crash, which claimed 110 lives and injured over 200 pilgrims, due to the lack of jurisdiction over the case, said a report.

Makkah Criminal Court issued its ruling in the presence of the defendants on trial and the prosecutor; it came after several sessions of deliberations.

The prosecutor had interrogated the defendants before the judge decided to drop the case due to an issue of jurisdiction, reported Arab News.

The court informed the defence team that it will inform them later of the date the legal decision will be formally issued, stated the report.

Reports presented by the Bin Laden Group during the investigation and court sessions had shown that sudden changes in weather conditions, difficult to forecast, resulted in unusual winds, which in turn caused the collapse of the crane.

The company pointed out that 50 thunderbolts had been recorded on the day in Makkah within a period of only one hour due to the inclement weather conditions. The storm, it stated, was accompanied by heavy rain and thunder, as well as drop in temperature from 45 to 21 degrees Celsius, said the report.

The Civil Defense Department spokesman said that the heavy rain that fell over Makkah on that day reached 40 mm within a very short period of time. The 13 defendants on trial gave their affidavits to the court.

They were absolved of responsibility for the collapse of the crane and the consequent damage due to insufficient evidence, reported Arab News.

Of the three judges, two decided to drop the case; the third maintained that the court has jurisdiction over the case, it stated.

The prosecutor also insisted that the court had jurisdiction and legal competency to look into the case, based on the royal decree issued following the incident, including into charges of loss of life, property damage and negligence.

The Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution relied on the results of the investigation, which were submitted to higher authorities, and indicated that the main cause of the accident was the fact that the crane was subjected to heavy winds and had been kept idle in the wrong position, in violation of the operation instructions issued by the manufacturer, said the report.

The defendants were also accused of failing to measure the speed of the wind and to respond to a number of letters from concerned authorities to review the condition of the several cranes at the site, especially the crane that fell, it added.

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