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Berkeley mayor says balcony victims' families should be paid 'as much as possible'

Yesterday it was confirmed that no criminal charges are going to be brought forward in the case.

THE MAYOR OF Berkeley has said the families of the victims’ of last year’s balcony collapse tragedy should receive as much compensation as possible.

Tom Bates was speaking after the California District Attorney’s Office yesterday confirmed that no criminal charges are going to be brought forward in the case.

A number of civil suits are underway.

Bates told RTÉ’s Drivetime the people responsible for the balcony’s sub-par construction should “certainly pay as much money as possible to offset some of the loss that occurred”.

Six student died in the tragedy last June – Lorcán Miller, Niccolai Schuster, Eoghan Culligan, Eimear Walsh, and Olivia Burke and her cousin Ashley Donohoe.

Several more people were seriously injured when the balcony collapsed at a 21st birthday party.

Speaking of yesterday’s announcement, Bates said:

I feel really, really sorry for the parents and friends of the students, it was really such a horrible tragedy. But unfortunately the law in our state is such that in order to bring criminal charges there’s a very high standard bar that you have to reach that shows that people knowingly or intended to cause damage or that they were so negligent it was gross negligence.

“It’s very difficult to prove and also there were a number of parties involved – the contractor, the building owner – so there were a number of things that made it very, very complicated.”

tom-front-01-1727 Tom Bates Source: Berkeley.ca

Bates added that the DA Nancy O’Malley “is an Irish person who cares very deeply about these students” and would have taken it to trial if she had found criminal fault.

The mayor said the tragedy has resulted in stricter building safety standards in Berkeley, noting that all balconies in the city have been inspected “in order to make sure we don’t have any timebombs out there with faulty balconies”.

He said balconies will be inspected every three to five years in the future.

Comments are closed because civil proceedings are pending. 

Read: No criminal charges will be brought over Berkeley balcony collapse

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Órla Ryan

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