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COUNCIL ON TRIAL OVER AFTER DEATH OF CHILD

Trial examines responsibility for dangerous wall that crushed young boy

A London Court has heard that a brick wall that collapsed crushing a toddler was “extremely badly built” and posed a risk to passers-by for ten years.

Two-year-old Saurav Ghai, was fatally injured when the brick wall, belonging to Camden Council, fell on the Wendling estate in north London as he walked along with his childminder on a windy day in January 2007. The London Borough of Camden had pleaded not guilty to charges under HSW Act but changed its plea to guilty in October 2010.

Was Council a fault for not spotting the danger?

During a hearing at Southwark Crown Court prosecutor James Ageros said Camden Council was in breach of its duty throughout the period between 1997 when the wall was repaired and when the toddler was “tragically killed” in 2007. He said:

“The work was done not in accordance with good practice. The wall was built extremely badly. It appears that the fact the wall was not built in accordance with good practice is agreed. The issue is whether Camden Council was at fault for not realising the wall was built badly in the first place.”

The court heard that the wall was not tied or bonded making it “unsatisfactory and unsafe”. Referring to repair work undertaken by a sub contractor, he said it was the prosecution case it was subject to control by the council.

Mr Ageros added:

“Camden Council failed in its duty thereafter in inspection, repair and maintenance. Camden Council ought to have put into practice a system that was apt and suitable to ensure the wall was kept in a proper state of repair and was safe. The wall was a risk to passers-by.”

Defending counsel Dominic Kay told the court the wall was in fact built in the 1970s and repaired in 1997. He said it was accepted that the wall was “too thin for its height”. He added:

“There were a number of incidents that should have put Camden on notice that the wall was dangerous.”

The hearing continues

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