Contractor involved in fatal Hamrun house collapse had track record of construction site accidents

Contractor behind the Miriam Pace building collapse in Hamrun had been involved in several construction site accidents stretching back to 2002  

The site of the collapse in Hamrun
The site of the collapse in Hamrun

The construction company involved in the death of Hamrun house collapse victim Miriam Pace had been involved in a number of other alarming incidents, a court has heard. 

This emerged in court as Magistrate Joe Mifsud presided over the compilation of evidence against two architects accused of Pace’s involuntary homicide, Roderick Camilleri and Anthony Mangion. Four persons stand charged in connection with the incident, two of whom have opted for a trial by jury. 

54-year-old Pace was tragically killed on 2 March when the house she lived in collapsed, ostensibly due to construction works next door. Her body was found in the rubble of her home, hours later. 

Today, the court heard how just a few days after the fatal collapse, the contractor was involved in another collapse, this time of a road at Pender Gardens. 

Cross-examined by lawyers Arthur Azzopardi, appearing for the accused, as well as by lawyers Joe Giglio and David Bonello who are appearing for the Pace family, Superintendent Robert Vella said he had been in constant contact with court experts, who had drawn his attention to the fact that construction equipment had been moved after the incident. Photographs published in in-Nazzjon and the Times, allegedly documenting this, were also exhibited. 

Vella told the court that he was aware that contractor Ludwig Dimech of LK Limited had been involved in several construction site incidents, mentioning cases which occurred in October 2002, June 2011, May 2013, June 2019 and December 2019. He added, however, that these were not the only contractors who had similar problems. 

Azzopardi requested the court order the exhibition of related reports involving Dimech or LK Ltd from the National Police System. 

Vella said the accused architects had years of experience. 

Inspector Matthew Galea also testified, telling the court that Camilleri had cooperated with the police, while Mangion had exercised his right to silence. He said he had no information as to whether Ludwig Dimech or Nicholas Spiteri had been involved in other construction mishaps. 

Azzopardi asked the inspector about CCTV from warehouses opposite the construction site, which the police had collected before Pace’s body was even found. The inspector said that a police officer was stationed as a fixed-point guard over the camera decoders. 

PA Chairperson Martin Saliba also testified, telling the magistrate that there had been no objection when the application for the works had been registered. 

Ivor Robinich from the Building Construction Agency (BCA) told the court that several enforcement notices had been issued against Ludwig Dimech and on the site in question, both before and after Pace’s death. He went on to say that there were at least 3 instances where works had been halted by the BCA. 

The case continues on Friday 26 February at 8:30am.