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Saudi court expected to ask for retrial of Makkah crane collapse case

Saudi court expected to ask for retrial of Makkah crane collapse case

The 2015 incident resulted in the deaths of 110 people and injuries to 209 others

A group of 13 defendants who were acquitted of negligence related to a deadly crane collapse in the holy city of Makkah could have the ruling revoked, according to reports.

Saudi Gazette cited sources as saying they expect the Supreme Court to reject the acquittal and the case to return to the Summary Court in Makkah for a retrial.

The incident at the holy city’s Grand Mosque in September 2015 resulted in the deaths of 110 people and injuries to 209 others.

Read: Saudi court clears Binladin staff in Makkah crane collapse case

A lawyer representing four of the defendants, Saleh Misfir Al-Ghamdi, told the publication that Supreme Court has the right to rescind the acquittal even after it was upheld by the Court of Appeals.

“The case will go back to the zero point. The sessions will start again. The court will summon all the defendants and the witnesses,” he was quoted as saying.

The Summary Court ruling last October acquitted the group and said they did not owe the victims blood money.

It was determined that the crane was placed in the correct upright position but was affected by rains and heavy winds when the incident took place on an official holiday, meaning there was “no negligence on the part of the accused”.

The Public Prosecution decided to appeal to the Supreme Court, arguing negligence and lack of commitment to safety were behind the collapse.

It also questioned why none of the 3,300 employees working at the site were there at the time of the incident.

Last year, local media said an engineering consultancy firm warned of the risks associated with having numerous cranes around Makkah’s Grand Mosque in a technical report submitted to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution.

Read: Saudi Binladin seeks extension on SAR10bn Grand Mosque financing

Expansion work at Islam’s holiest site has since continued, with troubled developer Saudi Binladin Group receiving government loans of around SAR11bn ($2.9bn) in April to continue the work.

Read: Saudi Binladin receives $3bn loan from government

The wider business is being restructured after the government reportedly took a stake of at least 35 per cent from owners detained during last year’s corruption crackdown.

Read: Saudi Binladin Group to cut staff, be renamed

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