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October 2, 2022

Colectiv nightclub owners charged with involuntary manslaughter

The owners of the Colectiv nightclub have been charged with involuntary manslaughter. The three were taken before prosecutors on Tuesday and were informed that the new charges brought against them concern the involuntary manslaughter of 60 people.

The three risk extremely hard sentences. They face up to ten and a half years in jail for involuntary manslaughter and three years in jail for causing bodily injury.
Another 60 persons have filed complaints against the three owners, accusing them of causing severe bodily injury.

The three owners and managers of the Bucharest Colectiv nightclub – Paul Gancea, George Anastasescu and Costin Mincu – were brought on Tuesday before prosecutors to be heard in the case in which they face charges of involuntary manslaughter and culpable bodily injury. Paul Gancea, George Anastasescu and Costin Mincu have been under pre-trial arrest since November 3.

Prosecutors argue that the Colectiv nightclub fire broke out because the club’s managers encouraged and allowed the access of an audience far beyond the club’s authorized capacity, and in spite of the fact that the emergency exits were insufficient; they also allowed an indoor fireworks display to take place in inadequate premises featuring flammable materials (soundproofing and decorations) installed illegally, in order to avoid additional costs. As a result, several people present in the club died or suffered bodily injuries.

A judge of the Bucharest District 4 Court admitted on November 3 the prosecutors’ proposal to place the three under pre-trial arrest on grounds of “gross negligence and heedless conduct in the club’s management.”

“The three defendants pose high social risk and their attitude and behaviour as reflected in their activity proves that letting them walk would endanger the safety of the members of society.
The judge also considered the particular seriousness of the deeds and their consequences (multiple deaths of young people and the bodily harm of others, some of whom are further hospitalized in critical condition), as well as the manner and circumstances of the perpetration. The judge also considers that the criminal prosecution is in an incipient stage, there is ample evidence to handle and the smooth unfolding of the criminal proceedings requires placing the three defendants under pre-trial arrest,” reads the reasoning for the arrest decision.

The judge appreciated the fact that the three defendants cooperated with the investigators, made detailed statements to the prosecutors, provided the requested documents, are young, have no criminal records and “seem to regret the incident in which friends of the defendants, acquaintances and employees included, have died.”

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