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‘Court Reforms Are Needed’, Paralympian Says After 13-Year Long Case Over Injuries Sent Back To Court

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Paralympian Vladyslava Kravchenko has called for the need for reforms to the court system, after a judge’s decision to retry the person found guilty of the collapse that injured her and a group of others in 2008.

Her life changed dramatically at age 17 when she injured her spinal cord after a metal scaffolding collapsed on a crowd at a public event in Qawra. Thirteen years later, the court case has not been resolved.

“I think asking all those involved to go through the criminal proceedings again 13 years later is disheartening and an insult to all the people who have been affected by this accident,” Kravchenko told Lovin Malta. 

Image credit: Andrew Large

Image credit: Andrew Large

“It took 13 years to establish that the accident occurred as a result of shortcomings in the health and safety measures at a public event and we are now back before the Court of Magistrate because of a procedural mishap,” she said with disappointment. 

“How many more lives need to be negatively affected until public health and safety are given due importance and those responsible for breaches are brought to justice and those affected are compensated, all within a reasonable time?”

Back in 2016, the director of the lightning company in charge of the collapsed scaffolding was sentenced to a 10-month jail sentence.

His lawyers had appealed, and just last week the court case was sent back to the Court of Magistrates to be heard afresh.

“I believe as taxpayers, citizens have a right to feel that they are protected by the judiciary and that after going through legal proceedings for decades they have a sense of reassurance that the case can be concluded with a fair judgment, which balances the rights of the victims and the accused,” she said.

She also expressed that while the decision guarantees the procedural safeguards of the accused, it left her perplexed, on how such an integral formality to the proceedings may be overlooked in this manner.

“I think it is important to investigate how this happened and ensure that it is not repeated,” she said.

Kravchenko represented Malta in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, and is also the chairperson of the Malta Paralympics Athletes’ Council. 

Do you think Malta’s court system needs reform? 

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's probably fighting for women's rights. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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