Man jailed over 2007 fatal crane collapse

A Gozo court jailed a man for two years on grounds of negligence after causing the death of a man in 2007

The crane killed Sammy Spiteri who was in the car when the crane collapsed over it
The crane killed Sammy Spiteri who was in the car when the crane collapsed over it

A Gozo court has jailed a man whose permit-less crane collapsed on a car and killed its occupant in 2007.

Baskal Saliba, 54, was jailed for two years for negligently causing the death of Sammy Spiteri, whose car had crashed into the structure in Victoria, Gozo on 7 October 2007.

The high speed impact occurred at around 4:40am. Spiteri's car hit the crane with such force that crane was knocked off balance and collapsed, the counterweight falling directly on Spiteri vehicle, crushing it. Spiteri, whose toxicological report showed him to have been well over the drink-drive limit and have taken ecstasy, died after debris lacerated his lung.

Magistrate Joe Mifsud noted that the accused lacked a permit to set up the crane in that road and that this showed a lack of good judgement on the part of the accused, also noting that his failure to cooperate with the law showed that the man felt he was above the law.

The court agreed with the conclusions of an Engineer's report that lambasted Saliba's “great and manifest” negligence and stressed the importance of ensuring safety at the workplace.

The court said it must send the message that human life is important and supersedes all other considerations. The accused deserved a custodial sentence in spite of the involuntary nature of the offence, as the net result of his negligence was that a person lost his life.

Saliba was also ordered to pay costs of the case.

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