The Malta Independent 25 June 2016, Saturday

Club incident directors, MCST Chairman's driver among those expected to be charged for failings

Jacob Borg Saturday, 23 January 2016, 11:17 Last update: about 6 months ago

A number of people found to be responsible for security and safety failings following a stampede at the PlusOne club in Paceville are expected to be charged in court next week.

Among them are entrepreneurs and club directors Hugo Chetcuti and Frankie Grima, as well as the MCST Chairman Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando's driver Stephen Ciangura, who runs a security company with a number of unlicensed bouncers who were working at the club.

The incident at the club last November led to 74 people being injured during a stampede, many of whom were minors.

(Hugo Chetcuti)

A magisterial inquiry led by Doreen Clarke found a litany of safety and security failings, including the presence of unlicensed bouncers who failed to coordinate an orderly evacuation of the club when pepper spray was let off during a fight. 

The inquiry found that Bojan Spasic, an unlicensed bouncer employed by a security company whose director is the MCST Chairman's driver Stephen Ciangura, decided to evacuate the club unilaterally without advising any of the other bouncers. 

(Frankie Grima)

While Mr Spasic was evacuating patrons at the top of the club's stairs, another two bouncers were trying to stop people leaving the club at the bottom of the stairs once they saw the crush. 

This led to a mass of people gathering on the club's stairs and the eventual collapse of the glass bannister, which was not properly fitted. 

The inquiry found that 450 people were in the club at the time of the incident, over double the club's stated maximum capacity of 200. 

The club has a number of other doors leading to other establishments apart from the main entrance/exit, but none of these classify as emergency exits. 

(Stephen Ciangura)

At least 34 minors were found inside the club, and a number of them were consuming alcohol as well as smoking inside. 

The last safety audited carried out by the club directors was in 2004.

The original license for the club was granted by the Malta Tourism Authority in 2003 to Hugo Cast Co Ltd, which is run by Carmelo Schembri. 

The club was actually run by Three Sixty Ltd, which is run by Hugo Chetcuti and Frankie Grima. 

The 18‐year‐old youth who left off the pepper spray during the fight leading to the incident is also expected to be charged. 

 

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