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Coronavirus forces end of Love Parade inquiry

A regional court in Germany has ordered a definitive end to the trial of the organisers of the 2010 Love Parade festival.

The current trial began in December 2017 after previous legal proceedings cleared the defendants – four employees of festival promoter Lopavent and six of the city of Duisburg, in North Rhine-Westphalia – of any wrongdoing.

While prosecutors said at the start of the trial they were confident of securing prosecutions, the impact of the coronavirus means that reaching a verdict before the ten-year statute of limitations expires in July would be impossible, Duisburg regional court ruled. The trial lasted 184 days, according to Deutsche Welle.

Twenty-one people died, and more than 650 were injured, on 24 July 2010 in a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the long-running techno festival. Over a million people are said to have attended the 2010 event, which was held at a former goods yard in Duisburg with a capacity of around 250,000.

The victims included festivalgoers from Spain, Australia, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China and the Netherlands.

 


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New criminal trial begins for Love Parade 10

Following outcry over the failure of a previous lawsuit, ten of the organisers of the tragic 2010 Love Parade festival today once again went on trial in Germany.

The ten defendants – four employees of the festival’s promoter, Lopavent, and six of the city of Duisburg, in North Rhine-Westphalia – were cleared of any wrongdoing in an April 2016 decision by Duisburg state court, which found there was “no sufficient case to answer” – a ruling described as a “judicial scandal” by relatives of the deceased.

However, an appeals court overturned the decision in April of this year, with prosecutors saying they are confident of convictions the second time around.

Twenty-one people died, and more than 650 were injured, on 24 July 2010 in a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the techno festival. Over a million people are said to have attended the 2010 event, which was held at a former goods yard with a capacity of around 250,000.

Love Parade’s founder, DJ Dr Motte, says he hopes the trial will “shed full light” on the tragedy

The victims included festivalgoers from Spain, Australia, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China and the Netherlands.

According to Agence France-Presse, defendants face charges of negligent manslaughter and bodily harm in one of the biggest criminal cases in Germany’s history, with the accused being represented by 32 lawyers and survivors by nearly 40.

The scale of the trial and the huge public interest have forced court officials to move the proceedings from the Duisburg state court to a 500-seat convention hall in nearby Dusseldorf, reports AFP.

Love Parade’s founder, DJ Dr Motte, says he hopes the trial will “shed full light” on how the tragedy was allowed by happen. “That’s what the parents want, and that’s what matters most,” he tells the DPA news agency.

 


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German court reopens Love Parade trial

An appeals court has said the ten people charged with 21 deaths at the 2010 Love Parade festival must stand trial, overturning last April’s controversial ruling by a Bremen state court to the contrary.

More than 500 people were also injured on 24 July 2010 in a deadly crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the now-defunct dance music festival, promoted by Berlin-based Lopavent. Over a million people were reported to have attended, despite the venue – a former goods yard in Duisburg – having a capacity of around 250,000.

Four employees of Lopavent and six of the city of Duisburg were indicted in 2014 on charges including involuntary manslaughter and bodily harm. The state court in Duisburg dismissed the case in April 2016, ruling that insufficient evidence meant “there [was] no sufficient case to answer”, prompting a civil suit from three of the injured.

According to the Associated Press, an appeals court in Dusseldorf said on Monday that there is in fact a “sufficient probability” of convictions, with the Duisburg court having set “overly high demands” of the chances on conviction in making its decision.

The reopened trial will once again take place in Duisburg, but with a new panel of judges.

 


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Love Parade, Duisburg facing new damage claims

Three Love Parade attendees have began fresh civil proceedings against those involved in organising the tragic 2010 festival.

There have been over 30 civil cases brought against festival promoter Lopavent, the city of Duisburg and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia since 2010 – all of them unsuccessful – although the latest claims are the first since a court ruled in April no one will stand trial over the disaster, which left 21 dead, owing to a lack of evidence.

German public broadcaster WDR reports that one woman, who suffered concussion, is seeking €73,000 in damages, with two more seeking between €34,000 and €56,000 each.

“I am of the view that the irresponsible behaviour of planners and organisers can not be atoned for without [paying these damages]”

Bärbel Schönhof, representing the first woman, a 51-year-old from Duisburg, says despite the failure of earlier lawsuits she is confident of a victory, “because I am of the view that [the] irresponsible behaviour of planners and organisers can not be atoned for without such a judgment”.

Twenty-one people died and over 500 were injured on 24 July 2010 in a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to Love Parade. Over a million people attended the dance music festival, which was held at a former goods yard in Duisburg with a capacity of around 250,000.

 


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