Sudbury·Elliot Lake

Elliot Lake mall collapse trial nears end

For five months, lawyers have been arguing the case for and against Robert Wood.

Discredited engineer Robert Wood could face life imprisonment if found guilty after mall roof collapse

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

For five months, lawyers have been arguing the case for and against Robert Wood.

On Tuesday, closing submissions begin in his trial.

Wood is the only person criminally charged in connection with the deadly 2012 Elliot Lake Algo Centre Mall collapse.

Wood, a discredited engineer, testified earlier that the Algo Centre Mall showed no visual signs of structural distress in the spring of 2012.

A few weeks later, a rusty steel beam supporting the building's rooftop parking deck gave way, killing 37-year-old Lucie Aylwin and 74-year-old Doloris Perizzolo.

Criminal lawyer Michael Spratt said he expects the result will impact anyone who shares a duty to uphold public safety.

"Negligence and dereliction of duty, if that is indeed found to be the case here, can result in criminal liability," Spratt said. 

"When it involves the death of individuals there's a likelihood that jail time will attach to that type of negligence," he added.

Gerard McDonald, the registrar for the organizations that oversees engineers in Ontario, said he expects Wood's trial to set a precedent in their profession.

"Our primary purpose is to protect the public interest," McDonald said, "we want to ensure that all engineers behave in that manner."

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

If found guilty, Wood could face a maximum life sentence.

With files from Olivia Stefanovich