Eli Ron, the inventor of the Pal-Kal method of construction, was sentenced to four years in prison by the Jerusalem District Court after being convicted of the negligent deaths of 23 people and the injury of more than 300 people in the May 2001 collapse
of the Versailles wedding hall in Jerusalem.
Engineers Dan Shefer and Shimon Kaufman were sentenced to 22 months in prison, and engineer Uri Pesach received a six-month prison term.
Ron's lawyer, Attorney Micha Fetman, said that he would appeal the sentence at the Supreme Court.
"This is a harsh and disproportional punishment, but it matches the attitude of the judge, who was against Eli Ron from day one. I hope the Supreme Court will be open to listen to our claims in the case," he said.
Eli Ron arrives at court (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Last December, the court convicted Eli Ron and the other three engineers of negligent death and assault. The court ruled that Shefer, Kaufman and Pesach's should have expected a possibility in which those using the property could be harmed
The disaster took place on May 24, 2001, at the wedding of Assi and Keren Dror. During the celebration, the floor collapsed at the western side of the wedding hall's third floor, and hundreds of people fell to the second floor, which also collapsed. Dozens of people were trapped under the ruins of the building, while rescue forces worked for many hours in an attempt to save their lives.
The police launched an investigation into the disaster, which revealed that the floor which collapsed was built in the Pal-Kal method, which was never approved by an authorized body and did not meet engineering standards. Nine people involved in the affair were indicted.
The families of the Versailles disaster victims responded with anger to Thursday's court decision.
Yosef Hayou, the father of the bride Keren Dror, told Ynet, "I would give the four of them 400 years in prison. Had they been pardoned, it would be 300 years, so that they have no chance to see daylight."
Alice Dror, the groom's mother, was present at the courthouse when the verdict was read.
"I believe they do not deserve such a punishment. Unfortunately, their punishment was mitigated. It's as if they killed chicken, not people. Who will take responsibility for such a situation?" she said.