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Company that built Berkeley complex seeks restraining order against investigators

Segue Construction is concerned that evidence might be altered in the absence of a company representative.

Image: Jeff Chiu/AP/Press Association Images

THE US CONTRACTOR that built the Berkeley apartment complex where six Irish students were killed in a balcony collapse last month have applied for a restraining order against public officials investigating evidence.

Segue Construction sought the order to prevent district attorney investigators from conducting tests without a company representative being present.

The company built the 176-unit Library Gardens complex in 2007.

The Alameda County district attorney’s office in California confirmed last week that it would look into the cause of the collapse, after a report found severe dry rot in the wooden beams of the balcony.

The investigation will examine whether manslaughter charges on the grounds of gross negligence can be brought against the firm and a subcontractor that worked on the building, the Berkeley district attorney, Nancy O’Malley, announced on Friday.

In a statement quoted in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the company said it was applying for a temporary restraining order to ensure evidence is not “altered, inspected, tested or destroyed” in the absence of a representative.

Our immediate concern is that the criminal investigation announced by the Alameda County District Attorney respect the customary legal rights of all parties to an investigation.

It added, however, that it is committed to assisting with the investigation.

Meanwhile, records released by the City of Berkeley show that the building was deemed to be in “good” condition in September 2014, RTÉ reports.

The inspection found that there were no “moisture concerns” in the fourth-floor apartment where the balcony collapsed.

The accident killed students Eoghan Culligan, Lorcán Miller, Niccolai Schuster, Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke and Ashley Donohoe, and injured seven others.

Read: Property developers to be examined in balcony collapse inquiry >

Read: District attorney to examine balcony collapse as report blames rotten wood >

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Catherine Healy

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