Prosecutors ask for maximum sentences in the Colectiv case

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The National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and General Prosecutor’s Office prosecutors demanded maximum sentences on Thursday for the former mayor of District 4 of the Capital Cristian Popescu-Piedone, city officials, club owners, two firefighters, two pyrotechnicians and representatives of a fireworks company, tried in the “Colectiv” fire case, which has been judged by six years.

The sentences in the case could be reduced after the judges of the Bucharest Court of Appeal partially changed the legal classification of the crimes.

The Bucharest Court of Appeal began on Friday the final hearings in the “Colectiv” case, with the prosecutors asking for maximum  sentences.

65 people, mostly youngsters, lost their lives in a tragic fire that broke out in the Colectiv club in Bucharest on the night of October 30, 2015, where the rock band Goodbye to Gravity was performing a concert to launch their latest album. The fire started from some fireworks quickly spread inside the club and many of them remained trapped in there. The fireworks used during the event led to the lighting of the polyurethane sponge on a pillar of the venue where about 400 were attending the concert. More than 160 people were injured.

The prosecutor of the General Prosecutor’s Office told the judges today that even after the tragedy in the Collective, many agents refuse to take their fire permits, they only display on the window that they do not have them, but the announcement does not exonerate them from criminal liability.

“The risks are even greater. Collectively, this can happen again at any time,” the prosecutor said.

In his turn, the DNA prosecutor asked the court to apply maximum and enforceable sentences, claiming that “the gentle attitude of the court of first instance is inexplicable”.  The investigator added that the social order was “altered” by corruption, and people were burned, “and we’re not talking about two, we’re talking about a cemetery.”

The trial is in the appeal phase, after, on December 16, 2019, the Bucharest Tribunal convicted Cristian Popescu-Piedone, city officials, club owners, two firefighters, two pyrotechnicians and representatives of a fireworks company.

In a first court, Bucharest Tribunal pronounced the following sentences:

● Cristian Popescu – Piedone, former District 4 mayor: 8 years and 6 months in prison; ● Alin George Anastasescu, owner of Colectiv club: 11 yrs and 8 months in prison ● Costin Mincu, another Colectiv’s owner: 11 yrs and 8 months in prison; ● Cătălin Paul Gancea, the third Colectiv club’s owner: 11 yrs and 8 months in prison; ● Antonina Radu Antonina, fireman at the Emergency Situations Inspectorate: 9 years and 2 months in prison; ● George-Petrică Matei, ISU fireman: 9 years and 2 months in prison; ● Aurelia Iofciu, employee of the District 4 City Hall: 8 years in prison; ● Luminiţa Larisa Ganea, superior adviser the District 4 City Hall: 7 yrs in prison; ● Sandra Ramona Moţoc, superior referee at the District 4 City Hall: 3 yrs on probation ● Daniela Ioana Niţă, owner of the fireworks company: 12 yrs and 8 months in prison ( she died this summer, she was found dead in her house in August); ● Cristian Mihai Niţă, owner of the fireworks company: 3 yrs and 6 months in prison; ● Viorel Zaharia,arson expert: 9 yrs and 8months in prison; ● Marian Moise, arson expert: 10yrs in prison; ● Colectiv Club Ltd: 470 days of fine, RON 5,000 fine for each day and the seizure of RON 62,298; ● Golden Ideas Fireworks Artists Ltd: 470 days of fine, RON 5,000 fine for each day ● SC Noran Prompt Serv Ltd: seizure of RON 147,133.

The Golden Ideas Fireworks was entirely owned by Daniela Niță, who held 100% of the shares. She was found dead this August, she was 44 years old. Her brother, Cristian Niță, was the manager of the company and he was also sentenced to prison, but received a milder jail sentence.

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