The judge's reasons for sending Metron Construction's
project manager, Vadim Kazenelson, to jail for criminal negligence
are now available here.
post of January 11th, we reported that the judge had sentenced
Mr. Kazenelson to 3 1/2 years in prison.
Mr. Justice MacDonnell's reasons for imposing the 3 1/2 jail
term are as follows:
Although Mr. Kazenelson was of
"good character prior to the accident and has continued to be
of good character in the six years since", and he was
remorseful and unlikely to commit further criminal offences of any
kind, the offences and their consequences were very serious: four
men lost their lives and a fifth suffered devastating and
As the Crown and Mr. Kazenelson
agreed, the principles of denunciation and general deterrence
(sending a message to others, to prevent similar crimes in future)
required a term of imprisonment.
Mr. Kazenelson's breach of duty
was "more than a momentary lapse". He was aware that the
workers were working 100 feet or more above the ground without
lifelines. "His duty to take steps to rectify this dangerous
situation was fully engaged, and it remained engaged for some
time" (he was with the workers for at least 30 minutes prior
to the accident).
He not only did nothing, he permitted
all six workers to board the swing stage together with their
He did so in circumstances where he
had no information with respect to the capacity of the swing stage
to safely bear the weight of the workers and their tools.
Mr. Kazenelson "adverted to the
risk, weighed it against Metron's interest in keeping the work
going, and decided to take a chance. That is a seriously
aggravating circumstance in relation to the moral blameworthiness
of his conduct." Mr. Kazenelson was aware that there was a
deadline for completing the work and that his boss was intent on
"A consideration of all of the
circumstances can lead only to the conclusion that a significant
term of imprisonment is necessary to reflect the terrible
consequences of the offences and to make it unequivocally clear
that persons in positions of authority in potentially dangerous
workplaces have a serious obligation to take all reasonable steps
to ensure that those who arrive for work in the morning will make
it safely back to their homes and families at the end of the
In the end, Mr. Kazenelson, now a 40 year old father of three
young sons, described as "honest, hardworking, conscientious
and safety-minded", "a good and devoted father to his
children" and "unquestionably a person of good
character" who was providing support to his mother who resides
overseas, was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. Mr. Kazenelson
has appealed his conviction for criminal negligence, so it would
appear that the case is not over yet.
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