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Paralysed woman welcomes court judgment against man found responsible for her disability

Maurice Attard was sentenced to 10 months in jail

Vladyslava Kravchenko, who was then 17, suffered injuries to her head and spine, which left her paralysed and wheelchair-bound. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Vladyslava Kravchenko, who was then 17, suffered injuries to her head and spine, which left her paralysed and wheelchair-bound. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The jail sentence handed to a company director found responsible for an accident during a party in 2008 was a “bold statement” on health and safety, according to the young woman who was left paralysed in the incident.

Maurice Attard, 52, was yesterday sentenced to 10 months imprisonment after he was found criminally responsible for an accident in Qawra that left eight people injured.

Among the casualties was Vladyslava Kravchenko, then 17, who suffered injuries to her head and spine which left her paralysed and wheelchair-bound.

She described the sentence as justice for the entire community, especially since she was not the only one injured in the incident.

“Although the imprisonment of one person will not bring about any improvements to my health, I believe this decision will serve as a bold statement that the health and safety of the public should be the top priority at any public event,” the 25-year-old said.

With the help of her lawyer, Franco Vassallo, “who has been incredibly supportive” in the years since the accident, Ms Krav-chenko will continue seeking compensation in a civil case.

The health and safety of the public should be the top priority at any public event

Mr Attard, from Mosta, and director of Sonlit Ltd, was in charge of the company sub-contracted to install heavy lighting equipment for a party that was to be held in the parking area opposite Ta’ Fra Ben Restaurant in Qawra.

On the evening of September 14, 2008, as the party was in full swing, strong winds shook the structure set up to light the main stage.

The entire structure collapsed onto the 120-strong crowd standing in front of the stage, injuring eight people.

Earlier this year, Ms Kravchenko told the Times of Malta that what happened in 2008 was a tragedy, not because of her spinal cord injury but because it seemed that no lesson had been learnt.

People were still being injured in public places, and there did not seem to be any policy or legislation which protected the health and safety of the public, she said.

Her comments came months after an incident in Paceville in which 74 young people were injured when a glass bannister at the Plus One club collapsed under the weight of scores of patrons attempting to leave at once. Two girls, including a 13-year-old, were critically injured.

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