British artist fined over two deaths caused by sculpture

March 27th, 2009 - 11:50 am ICT by IANS  

London, March 27 (DPA) A British artist whose inflatable sculpture killed two women when it broke free from its moorings was Thursday fined 10,000 pounds ($14,457) by a court in Newcastle, north-east Britain.
Maurice Agis, 77, from London, was convicted for the breach of Health and Safety procedures after a jury failed to reach a verdict on the original charge of manslaughter.

The women, aged 68 and 38, died after falling off the Dreamspace sculpture in a park in Chester-Le-Street, near Newcastle, in July 2006. Thirteen people were injured when the artwork broke loose from its moorings and flipped over.

Brouhaha International, the firm that organised the tour of Dreamspace, was fined 4,000 pounds and Chester-Le-Street District council, which helped organise the event, was fined 20,000 pounds.

Agis, who now lives on a pension, said he was “truly sorry” about what happened. He was given a choice of paying the fine or serving six months in jail.

“Never, for one moment, have I ever thought that Dreamspace posed a risk to life. The memories of that day fill me with a profound sadness,” he said in a statement.

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