ELLIOT LAKE

More witnesses to testify on condition of Algo Centre Mall before it collapsed

The Crown is expected to call more witnesses this week to comment on the state of the Algo Centre Mall before and after it collapsed, as the trial of the only person charged in connection to the disaster heads into its second week.

'If there was an inspection done on that building, I probably can do better,' Lucie Aylwin's dad says

Robert Wood walks to Superior Court in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where he is being tried on three counts of criminal negligence in connection with the 2012 deadly Elliot Lake mall collapse. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

The Crown is expected to call more witnesses this week to comment on the state of the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ont., before and after it collapsed, as the trial of the only person charged in connection with the disaster heads into its second week.

Former engineer Robert Wood was the last person to inspect the shopping centre, declaring it "structurally sound" just weeks before June 23, 2012, when a portion of the rooftop deck came crashing down, killing two women and injuring more than a dozen other people.

"If there was an inspection done on that building, I probably can do better," said Rejean Aylwin, whose daughter was killed.

"If he comes out clear, there's something wrong with the justice."

Last week, the court heard from three witnesses who described rust and leakage at the Algo Centre. 

One of them, Ontario Provincial Police Const. Dale Burns, took more than 160 photos of the mall after its roof gave way. He is supposed to continue his testimony on Monday.

The Crown is trying to prove Wood's work contributed to the deaths of Lucie Aylwin, 37, and Doloris Perizzolo, 74, as well as to the severe injuries of a survivor.

Wood has pleaded not guilty to two counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. 

Rejean Aylwin is seeking justice for his daughter, Lucie, who was killed in the mall collapse. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Trial should have happened 'a lot faster'

Aylwin sat near the front of the courtroom every day last week, hoping to get answers about what happened to his daughter.

He cannot be there every day because the Superior Court trial is being held in Sault Ste. Marie, which is a 3½-hour drive from his home in Sudbury. 

Aylwin said he has asked defence lawyer Robert MacRae if he can speak with Wood. 

He said he was told Wood is willing to talk, but only after the trial.

MacRae informed the court last Wednesday that he intends to file an application to stay the proceedings, alleging the Crown took an "unreasonable amount of time" to bring his client to trial.

Wood has waited 32 months for his trial.

The time has also been hard on Aylwin's family members, who have been waiting four years for someone to be held accountable. 

"As far as I'm concerned, it should be a lot faster than that," Rejean Aylwin said. 

About the Author

Olivia Stefanovich

Reporter

Olivia Stefanovich is a network reporter for CBC News based in Toronto. She previously worked in Saskatchewan and northern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter @CBCOlivia. Send story ideas to olivia.stefanovich@cbc.ca.