Updated May 26 with MCZMC Developers Ltd statement
Relatives of construction collapse victim Miriam Pace have reached an out-of-court settlement with MCZMC Developers Limited.
MCZMC Developers Ltd were behind a construction project that was under way next door to the Pace family home when it collapsed in March 2020.
Run by developer Malcolm Mallia, the company lists four other directors: Elton Caruana, Matthias Mallia, Amanda Muscat, Christopher Zarb and Simon Zarb.
In a statement announcing the settlement, lawyer David Bonello, on behalf of the Pace family, said that by virtue of this settlement agreement, the civil claims brought forward by the family against the developers, the contractor, the architect of the project and the site technical officer are now settled.
In its own statement, MCZMC Developers Ltd said the settlement was reached without any admission of responsibility on their part for the collapse.
The company noted that no criminal charges had been filed against them, nor any lawsuit filed.
"Throughout this difficult process for all parties involved, the directors of the company have strived to offer their full support and cooperation with full empathy towards the situation. The settlement agreement reached yesterday is testimony to this," the company said.
Criminal case against four others involved
The settlement will have no impact on a criminal case which the police have started against four other individuals involved in the construction works next door to the Pace family home - architects Roderick Camilleri and Anthony Mangion, contractor Ludwig Dimech and labourer Nicholas Spiteri.
All four men face criminal charges of involuntary homicide in relation to the collapse and Pace’s death. They are pleading not guilty.
Miriam Pace was killed in March 2020 when her house collapsed while she was in it. It took rescue crews hours to find her body, which was buried beneath the rubble of her own home.
Large-scale excavation works were underway next door at the time and a magisterial inquiry into the collapse found shortcomings in the method statement and condition report submitted by the architect responsible for that project, Roderick Camilleri.
The inquiry also found that the project’s site technical officer, Anthony Mangion, was “inexistent” during the demolition and excavation phase of the project.
Excavation contractor Ludwig Dimech was also found to have failed to give clear instructions on how works were to be carried out, while labourer Nicholas Spiteri was found to have been “entirely negligent” when he used heavy excavation machinery to speed up works.
While testifying in those proceedings, Miriam Pace’s husband Carmel had estimated the damages incurred by the collapse, including the house and its contents, at €593,000.
“Obviously there are things which you cannot get a quotation for, such as memories and my wife,” he had said, his voice cracking with emotion.
He told Times of Malta in January that his wife had a foreboding about the excavation works next door and had texted him “They’ve started, God help us!” on the day the works began.
He and the couple’s son were left homeless following the collapse, first moving into their daughter’s own home before being given alternative accommodation in Żebbuġ.
Pace’s death sparked an outpouring of grief and anger and forced the government to take a second look at demolition and excavation laws that had been redrafted less than a year earlier, following a spate of other building collapses.
An expert report into the industry, published last January, found several “deep rooted” problems in the sector, including the prevalence of several unsafe practices.
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