Judge hears evidence over Casa hotel balcony collapse

Emergency services attend balcony collapse at Casa, Brighouse.
Emergency services attend balcony collapse at Casa, Brighouse.

A judge has started hearing evidence relating to the sudden collapse of a Brighouse hotel balcony which caused serious injuries to its owner and four women.

Jack McDaid and the women, who are understood to have been looking round the bridal suite at the Casa Hotel, were injured when the balcony suddenly gave way and crashed to the ground in February 2013.

Mr McDaid is the director of Castelite Limited who, along with Casa Events Limited, have admitted health and safety breaches and a judge is expected to sentence both companies at the conclusion of the Bradford Crown Court hearing tomorrow (Friday).

Prosecutor Stephen Uttley told the court that following the accident Mr McDaid claimed that the balcony had been designed and installed by Graham Robinson, who now operates Grove Fabrication Services Limited.

But during his evidence to the court today Mr Robinson said he had only fitted a steel balustrade to the already installed platform back in 2007.

Mr Robinson said he had done the work as a favour for Mr McDaid who had wanted it doing in a hurry because there was a wedding on that weekend.

During questioning by the barrister acting for the two companies Mr Robinson accepted that he knew there had been a serious accident involving the balcony before he provided statements about his work.

“I’m sorry to have to suggest this. You are the man who constructed, not just the balustrade, but the platform itself didn’t you?” said barrister Andrew Thomas.

“No, I didn’t,” replied Mr Robinson.

“Did it not seem curious that there was a platform sat there with nothing around it and you were being asked to finish off someone else’s work?” asked Mr Thomas.

Mr Robinson said he was curious about who had built the platform from a competition standpoint, but he didn’t know who had done it.

“Mr Robinson there was no competition. You built the platform and the balustrade at the same time didn’t you.” suggested Mr Thomas.

“No,” replied Mr Robinson.

“I am sorry to suggest this. When the local authority contacted you, you denied constructing the platform because you knew how serious that accident was didn’t you?” said Mr Thomas.

“No,” replied Mr Robinson.

Mr Thomas suggested that Mr Robinson had been paid £1600 for his work, but said he had not.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC is due to hear evidence from Mr McDaid today/tomorrow (Fri) before making a ruling on the evidence and passing sentence for the health and safety breaches.

Mr Uttley said it was the prosecution’s case that Mr Robinson was not responsible for the construction of the balcony platform and that Mr McDaid had been dishonest in saying he had recovered invoices for the work.

“To this date we have never been provided with a single invoice to prove Mr Robinson did the work,” submitted Mr Uttley.

It is understood the balcony gave way because it was not properly fixed to the wall of the hotel.

The hearing continues.