Crown wants 4 to 5 year prison term in scaffolding collapse case

A Crown prosecutor is recommending four to five years in prison for Vadim Kazenelson. He was found guilty in June on four counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Prosecution recommends 4 to 5 years in prison for manager in deadly scaffolding collapse

Four died in the Dec. 24, 2009, collapse. (CBC)

A Crown prosecutor is recommending up to five years in prison for a project manager who oversaw a Toronto construction crew involved in a deadly scaffolding collapse in 2009.

Vadim Kazenelson was found guilty in June on four counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Crown lawyer Rochelle Direnfeld says Kazenelson was in a position of trust and had a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent harm to those he was directing, but failed to do so.
Uzbek refugee Dilshod Marupov, 22, stands in front of a Toronto apartment building in 2010 where he was almost killed in an industrial accident. Marupov is the lone survivor of a scaffold collapse that killed four migrant workers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

"The harm that resulted from Mr. Kazenelson's conduct was very grave," said Direnfeld. "The Crown submits that an appropriate sentence in this case is a penitentiary sentence of four to five years."

The accident happened to a crew of workers making repairs to balconies on a highrise apartment building in Toronto on Christmas Eve. They were using a swing stage to go up and down the outside of the building and at the end of the day, six workers got onto the swing stage, which only had two safety "lifelines," the trial heard.

At that point, Kazenelson was still on a 13th floor balcony beside the swing stage, handing tools to the workers on the stage,the court heard.

Kazenelson knew members of the crew were not properly secured to safety lifelines, but he allowed them to continue working, Direnfeld said.

The trial heard Kazenelson asked the site foreman, who was present, about the lifelines at one point, but was told by him not to worry and no more was said.

"Not only did he fail to rectify this fundamental breach ... he permitted those workers to board the stage with their tools with no information on the capacity of the stage. He then boarded the stage himself," Direnfeld said.

The trial heard that Kazenelson managed to hold onto a 13th-floor balcony when the swing stage split in two, sending five workers plummeting to the ground.

Alesandrs Bondarevs, Aleksey Blumberg, Vladamir Korostin and foreman Fayzullo Fazilov fell to their deaths, while Dilshod Marupov survived the fall with fractures to his spine and ribs. The men ranged from 21 to 40 years old and were from Latvia, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

Only one worker, who was the sole person properly secured to a safety lifeline, was left suspended in mid-air until Kazenelson hauled him up onto a balcony, court heard.

That worker testified that Kazenelson didn't insist crew members be attached to lifelines and said Kazenelson asked him to lie about the incident afterward.


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