Company director jailed for 10 months over accident that left teen wheelchair-bound

Vlada Kravchenko was just 17 when high winds caused a lighting scaffold to fall on her at an open-air party in St Paul's Bay in 2008, injuring her spinal cord

A similar truss to that which collapsed in 2008 (file photo)
A similar truss to that which collapsed in 2008 (file photo)

A company director has been sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment after a court declared him responsible for the 2008 collapse of a lighting scaffold which left a young partygoer paralysed from the waist down.

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech read out her judgement this morning, in the case against 52-year-old Maurice Attard of Sonlit Ltd – the company which had been subcontracted to install a truss from which lighting equipment was suspended, at an open-air public disco in a parking area in St Paul's Bay.

Some three hours into the party, strong winds had caused the structure and the heavy spotlights to collapse, injuring eight people.

25-year-old Vlada Kravchenko was just 17 when she suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of the collapse, and is now wheelchair-bound. The Ukrainian teenager had just arrived at the party when the scaffolding collapsed.

Kravchenko was present in the courtroom as the sentence was read out this morning.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech stressed that health and safety in such events was of paramount importance, commenting that it was “disgraceful that a person at a place of entertainment has had her life irrevocably changed just because she happened to be in a particular place at a particular time.”

The party's two organisers are believed to have refused to answer police questions over the incident to avoid incriminating themselves and appear to have never been charged over the incident. Attard is understood to be filing an appeal. 

Lawyer Giannella De Marco appeared as defence counsel to Attard. Inspector Frank Tabone prosecuted.