Case against city proceeding in wall collapse death
A judge has ruled that safety violation charges against the City of Guelph can proceed in the wall collapse that killed 14-year-old Isabel Warren.
Justice Michael Epstein also ruled the architect and engineer involved in building the wall are not responsible, since the collapse happened years after the construction was completed.
Epstein said the city, which had hired the designer and builder, had an ongoing obligation to maintain a safe workplace.
But the lawyer for the City of Guelph, Norm Keith, says "We were the most remote in terms of legal, practical and moral responsibility from the terrible tragedy involving Miss. Warren."
The judge also ruled the wall that collapsed was a danger to anyone who came near it
He says he was bound by Court of Appeal rulings in dismissing the charges of providing negligent or incompetent advice against the architect and engineer.
The Ministry of Labour safety charges came following the death of high school student Isabel Warren three years ago.
Warren died in June 2009 when the cinderblock wall of a public washroom collapsed on top her after she climbed onto a change table.
An accomplished athlete, she was on a gym break when the seven foot high wall fell on her and caused massive head and chest injuries.
Her death was devastating for her family, classmates at Bishop Macdonell High School and the city.
Keith says the municipality accepts the decision on the charges but calls it ironic.
"The architect and the engineer are now, because of delays on the part of the Labour Ministry prosecution, able to walk away free from any responsibility."
The municipal government could still appeal that decision, according to prosecutors with the Ministry of Labour.
Epstein rejected arguments by the city that the ministry also failed to charge it within a period of limitations.