Jury in Killarney lift collapse trial retire to consider verdict

The jury in the Killarney lift collapse trial have retired to consider their verdict.

Five members of the Meehan family from Meath and Kildare were injured when the
Daldoss Easylife lift collapsed at the Plaza Hotel Killarney on July 9th 2011.

The company that installed it, Ellickson Engineering Ltd of Kilmurry, Co Waterford is on trial for a breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act for installing the lift in April 2004, and failing to ensure that nothing about the way it was erected made it unsafe when in a place of work, and by failing to install a safety electrical system.

The trial began on Tuesday at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court, but the company is not represented in court; a not guilty plea was entered on their behalf.
Judge Tom O’Donnell this morning began his charge to the jury of seven men and five women.

He recapped on the evidence given by the 29 witnesses since Tuesday, including the Meehan family who were injured in the lift collapse, as well as expert engineers, and HSA inspectors.

He reminded the jury that they must focus on the charge – that it’s not about the accident but the installation of the lift in 2004.

Ellickson Engineering Ltd has not been represented in court but under the Companies Act, a trial can proceed with a not guilty plea entered if the accused does not appear – this is the first time this has happened in the circuit court in Kerry.

Kilell Ltd, which acquired the trading name and premises of Ellickson Engineering Ltd from a receiver in 2011, are not being prosecuted.

Judge O’Donnell said the jury must find the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and that Ellickson Engineering Ltd, which is in existence since 1969, is entitled to the benefit of the doubt unless the prosecution proves otherwise.

He said at this point their decision must be unanimous – that all 12 must agree.

They retired at 11.54am.