Engineering firm found guilty over Killarney lift collapse

Ellickson Engineering Ltd censured over 2011 incident which injured five passengers

The Killarney  Plaza Hotel Killarney, where a lift ‘catastrophically collapsed’ down four floors in 2011.

The Killarney Plaza Hotel Killarney, where a lift ‘catastrophically collapsed’ down four floors in 2011.

 

A guilty verdict has been returned in the trial of an engineering company for the “shoddy and unsafe” installation of a lift in the Killarney Plaza Hotel, Co Kerry, in 2004.

The lift “catastrophically collapsed” down four floors in July 2011 and seriously injured its five passengers.

The passengers were all members of the same family and were attending a wedding in the town.

The unanimous verdict by the jury of five women and seven men came after just an hour of deliberations on the third day of the trial at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee.

The trial had previously heard highly technical evidence, as well as emotional accounts from those injured in the incident.

After the verdict, Judge Thomas E O’Donnell paid tribute to the Meehan family, who had given evidence during the trial of their “horror movie” experience in the lift, from which they were still recovering.

The judge saidhe wished to commend them on the dignity and resilience they had displayed collectively and individually during the trial.

There had been no appearance by the accused lift installation firm, Ellickson Engineering Ltd, with an address at Kilmurry, Co Waterford, and which the jury was told had been incorporated in 1969 and remained in existence.

Tom Rice, prosecuting barrister for the DPP, had said the trial must proceed as though a not guilty plea had been entered, and the company should be presumed innocent, referring to company law on non-appearance.

The incident had been investigated by the Health and Safety Authority, not the gardaí.

Assets seized

At the end of the proceedings, Mr Rice told the judge that the company’s “assets or a portion of its assets” had been seized by a receiver and sold to another limited liability company.

Mr Rice sought an adjournment of sentencing to find out from the receiver what assets were available so the fine could be determined.

The judge adjourned sentencing until April 3rd next for mention.

A company called Kilell Ltd now operated part of the business previously operated by Ellickson – but not the lift department, the court heard.

In a statement to the press outside the court, Kilell said it had acquired the trading name Ellickson and the company’s Co Waterford premises in 2011 from receivers Grant Thornton.

It stressed that the company being prosecuted was not theirs.