The Angers criminal court will deliver its deliberations Tuesday, more than five years after the tragedy. The five men were charged with manslaughter as well as involuntary injuries following the October 2016 collapse of a balcony that killed four people in Angers.
The trial lasted from February 9 through March 4. Five witnesses were summoned, and 83 others were joined as civil parties.
18 young people fell into the void on October 15, 2016 when a balcony at the 3rd Floor of "Le Surcourf", Angers' residence, collapsed. The balconies on the lower floors had been dragged by the balcony.
Three men, aged 21-23 and 25, as well an 18-year old girl, were among the victims. Other victims included 14 others.
The tragedy happened during a housewarming party that was organized by two young girls. It brought together about thirty friends, most of whom were law students.
Bonnel, a local building company that dates back to 50 years, was the focus of many debates. These were undoubtedly technical and should have focused on casting the slabs for the balconies on the construction site, rather than prefabricating them. .
Patrick Bonnel, manager of the now-defunct company is the main defendant in the case. He is suspected to have validated this decision in order to reduce delivery times for the building.
Two of his employees, along with the manager, were also heard. The architect, project manager, and technical controller were also present.
"This case is actually an accumulation of faults on all levels: mason. architect. technical controller. site manager," Me Marc Morin (lawyer for civil parties) told us before we started the trial.
Everyone admitted some responsibility during the three-week hearing. The architect was the exception.