Elliot Lake Mall Disaster Trial Starts

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The trial for the engineer facing possible life imprisonment because of the deadly 2012 Algo Centre Mall collapse in Elliot Lake began Monday.

Robert Wood pleaded not guilty to two counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm in connection with the June 23, 2012 disaster.

Lucie Aylwin, 37, and Doloris Perizzolo, 74, were killed in the incident while many others were injured.

Ontario Court Justice Edward Gareau listened to an opening statement from the Crown before adjourning the trial for the day. This was to provide defense lawyer Robert MacRae with time to review newer information provided to the defense.

Assistant Crown attorney’s Marc Huneault and David Kirk are in charge of the prosecution.

Huneault told the court that on the day in question, at about 2:15 p.m., a 40-foot by 80-foot section of the Algo Mall rooftop parking lot collapsed, ultimately resulting in the death two people and creating serious injury to others.

“A wanton and reckless disregard” for the lives of those affected was what Huneault told the court.

This trial is expected to go on for five months.

There is evidence that the mall was inspected in both October 2009 and May 2012 which was just weeks before the disaster.

Supervisors of various tenants in the former mall will testify along with employees who are expected to relate incidents of visible damage before the inspections.

Wood was originally charged by Ontario Provincial Police in January 2014.

The maximum sentence for criminal negligence causing death is life imprisonment.

The final report from a public inquiry held into the fatal mall collapse concluded two years ago that the disaster was deemed “human failure.”

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