Slovak court gives suspended sentences for fatal blast in 2007 | info.cz

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Slovak court gives suspended sentences for fatal blast in 2007

Slovak court gives suspended sentences for fatal blast in 2007
 

Slovak court found two former managers of the VOP military repair company in Novaky, west Slovakia, guilty of endangering the safety of the public today and imposed suspended sentences on them over a big explosion in VOP in 2007 that killed eight people and injured more than 30. Another two suspects have been acquitted, Slovak media write.

The Prievizda District Court's verdict is not definitive, it can still be appealed. The March 2, 2007 explosion in VOP's ammunition liquidation section became the biggest industrial tragedy in Slovakia's modern history. It damaged the plant's buildings and the pressure wave damaged the windows within the radius of several kilometres.

Out of the two suspects, former VOP general director Jozef Berak was given suspended three years in prison with five-year probation, and former VOP production director Jan Laur received the same sentence but with a shorter period of probation.

The court ordered that the two apologise to the victims' families. VOP's former technical director and safety technician were acquitted over doubts persisting about their guilt.

Five persons, one of whom died in the meantime, were prosecuted over the fatal blast since 2010. The prosecutor said they must have known about the risk of an explosion, given the amount of explosives and their wrong way of storage in VOP.

The court proceedings have got protracted due to the need to complete an expert opinion and question additional witnesses. VOP Novaky, mainly dealing with the liquidation and repair of ammunition and production of hand grenades and training ammunition, ran into financial troubles after the explosion.

In 2012, Slovakia launched a tender in which the VOP Novaky was leased to the MSM Martin company from the MSM group, in which a majority stake is owned by the Czechoslovak Group of Czech entrepreneur Michal Strnad.

 
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