The Helsinki Police Department suspect that the apartment building manager and the managing director of the service company used by the building association were guilty of involuntary manslaughter in January.
The suspicions relate to the case in which an elderly man was struck on the head by a block of icy snow coming off the roof of an apartment building in Viherniemenkatu in Helsinki’s Hakaniemi district.
The man later died of his injuries.
The police completed their investigation into the incident on Tuesday. The case has now entered the consideration of charges phase.
in the course of the investigation the authorities also heard the building association’s board, which was also under suspicion of having committed a crime, but the board was subsequently freed from such suspicions. The board had signed a contract with the building manager and the service company over snow removal from the roof.
According to Det. Chief Inspector Kari Martikainen, the division of tasks is clear: the service company’s job was to monitor the amount of snow and ice on the roof and to keep the building manager informed of the situation. The manager’s task was then to call in the snow removers.
“In this case the danger was not recognised and removed early enough”, Martikainen says.
The building manager and the managing director of the service company deny involvement in involuntary manslaughter.
“They both say that they did what they could to prevent this sort of thing from happening. In their view this is rather a case of a tragic accident”, Martikainen explains.
According to Martikainen, both of the accused have referred to the difficult conditions.
“One cannot always put the blame on difficult conditions or circumstances. A building has to be in such a shape and it has to be looked after in such a way that nothing like this can happen, even if the conditions were dreadful.”
A barrier had been placed on the street to prevent people from entering the dangerous area. In the investigation it did not become totally clear on which side of the barrier the victim had been walking.
In Martikainen’s view it is questionable if setting up such barriers can be considered a sufficient precaution.
"They can be moved, and people do not necessarily obey them”, he points out.