New Zealand-born Robinson, arrested on 14 February 2006 following the roof collapse of the Katowice International Trade Hall, which resulted in 65 deaths, is charged with criminal negligence over the tragedy.
Around 700 people, including 140 exhibitors, were reported to have been in the hall at the time of the collapse during Pigeon 2006, the 56th National Exhibition of Carrier Pigeons (Event, March 2006). As Event went to press, the prosecutor in the case had still to appeal against thae decision not to extend Robinson’s ‘temporary arrest’. The expected outcome should, however, mean that Robinson is released on bail, although he will not be allowed to leave Poland until after the trial.
Robinson was charged because the exhibition venue was 51% owned by Expocentres Eastern Europe, the company he worked for as Polish managing director. The six-year-old building received investment from Expocentres in 2001 – one year after the building was completed. The other shareholders include the City of Katowice and the Polish State Treasury.
Robinson has been given no definitive date for his trial. To date, nine men have been arrested and charged in connection with the tragedy. If found guilty, Robinson faces eight years of incarceration in a Polish prison.
A spokesperson for the Free Bruce Robinson organisation said: “He and his family would like to say thank you for everyone’s continued support. We were not asking for the public to judge him innocent without trial, we were simply saying that he shouldn’t still be in prison.”
The group has also asked the government of New Zealand to raise the issue of Robinson’s rights with the Polish authorities.